Why Your Online Image Matters

Last Friday I attended a Digital Citizenship Conference with Safe Smart Social for an important discussion – why your online image matters. More importantly how it can create a new pathway towards success or stop you in your tracks. As a college counselor I am constantly advising students on presenting their narrative to prospective colleges and employers. We discuss the whole picture. Who are you presenting on your application and what do you want that story to say? So when a college admission counselor makes the decision between candidates you feel confident that you’ve presented your best self.

Our digital footprint is no different than a college application. In fact, in many ways it is becoming a part of our college application. Our online image is easily searchable. So searchable that if your portraying one version of yourself on an application and a completely different version of yourself online, it can confuse prospective colleges and employers. Here are a few takeaways from the conference and how you can incorporate simple tactics to enhance your narrative…on and offline.

  1. Grade yourself
    • Safe Smart Social has a free tool called Footprint Friday. An incredibly easy tool that will show you what pops up when people search for you. More information and access here: https://safesmartsocial.com/footprint-friday/
    • Go to your Instagram and Facebook. If your dream college looked at it RIGHT now, without changing anything how would you feel? Proud? Ashamed?
  2. Take control and create your own positive content
    • You’ve done some community service…but have you posted about it? Showing images of you actively participating in positive events is a good thing! Did your club recently host a fundraiser at school? Post it!
    • Create a website, post on your YouTube channel, have a LinkedIn account that showcase your strengths, passions and accomplishments.
  3. Be authentic 
    • You don’t have to shy away from being yourself, however it is helpful to think about this before you post, “If this were on my college application how would I feel?” or “If my future internship saw this, would it help or hurt me?” Take control of your narrative.



Light, Bright and Polite for Parents/Teens: How to Shine Online to Impress Colleges


Attend the Social Media Bootcamp for Parents & Students to Shine Online at Loyola Marymount University this summer and learn how to build a positive online image that you’ll be proud of. To sign up and view details click here: https://safesmartsocial.com/social-media-bootcamp/


Raise.me: Earn scholarship money for your accomplishments throughout high school! Create an online portfolio with Raise.me and earn scholarships from participating colleges and universities for your good deeds like starting a club, community service and earning strong grades. https://www.raise.me/


Zeemee: An online platform that allows you to showcase your narrative to colleges. Upload videos, pictures and written content to present your accomplishments, strengths, interests and passions. https://www.zeemee.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/




Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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