Digital Decisions: Creating a Scholarship-Friendly Online Image

For 2024 high school grads, it’s scholarship season. Before you submit your applications, it’s crucial to recognize that your online presence may play a significant role in shaping the perceptions of admissions officers and scholarship committees. In fact, a 2020 survey found that 2/3rds of admissions officers think social media is “fair game” in admission and scholarship decisions.

Colleges and scholarship reviewers are increasingly turning to social media to gain insight into applicants’ character. It’s vital to create an online presence that aligns with your academic and personal goals. Your social media profiles are an extension of your identity. A well-maintained digital persona can boost your scholarship chances and red flags might just end them.

At, we understand the importance of presenting your best self online. Let’s explore 10 tangible steps you can take to make sure your social media is scholarship-ready!

Ten Tangible Steps to Clean Up and Enhance Your Social Media Profile

1. Review Privacy Settings:

   – Adjust privacy settings on all of your social media platforms to control who can see your posts and information.

   – Consider making certain posts visible only to close friends or creating a private account.

2. Profile Picture Professionalism:

   – Choose a professional and friendly profile picture that reflects your personality. This doesn’t need to be a headshot. On the other hand, that picture of you holding a trophy at the robotics competition would certainly impress.

   – Avoid using overly casual or inappropriate images that may convey the wrong impression. If you wouldn’t want your grandma, pastor or principal to see it, then you don’t want the scholarship committees to see it, either.

3. Content Audit:

   – Scroll through your past posts and remove anything that could be perceived as offensive, inappropriate, or unprofessional. If you’re unsure, ask a parent or high school counselor for their opinion.

   – Ensure your content aligns with your values and the image you want to project.

4. Update Bio and Descriptions:

   – Craft a concise and positive bio that highlights your interests, achievements, and aspirations.

   – Update descriptions on each social media platform to showcase your skills, experiences, and involvement in extracurricular activities.

5. Professional Networking:

   – Follow educational institutions, scholarship organizations, and industry professionals to demonstrate your interest in your chosen field. This can also be a great way to gain points with colleges that value “demonstrated interest” in their admission criteria.

   – Engage in conversations related to your academic interests to showcase your knowledge and passion.

6. Showcase Achievements:

   – Share your academic and extracurricular achievements, but maintain humility in your posts.

   – Highlight any volunteer work, community service, or projects that demonstrate your commitment to making a positive impact.

7. Cultivate a Positive Online Presence:

   – Like and share content that reflects your values and interests.

   – Avoid engaging in online conflicts or sharing negative sentiments that may be viewed unfavorably. Online bullying is a sure way to get your application moved to the bottom of the pile.

8. Digital Portfolio:

   – Create a digital portfolio or link to relevant projects that showcase your skills and talents.

   – Ensure that your portfolio aligns with your academic and career aspirations.

9. Check Tagged Photos:

   – Review photos in which you are tagged and untag yourself from any images that may present you in an unfavorable light. Photos of drinking, vaping or drug use are definitely out.

   – Ask friends to remove inappropriate or compromising photos.

10. Google Yourself:

   – Conduct a self-search on Google to see what information is readily available about you.

   – Address any inaccuracies or undesirable results by adjusting privacy settings or contacting website administrators.

I’m so thankful that I didn’t have to be so careful with my image in high school. But, in the age of digital scrutiny, cleaning up and enhancing your social media profile is a strategic move to boost your college application and scholarship prospects. By following these ten tangible steps, you can curate a positive and authentic online presence that reflects your character, values, and achievements. This will also help you with future internships, co-ops and employment, as 91% of employers say that they check social media before hiring.

At, we believe in empowering students to navigate the college admissions process and we are here to help you build the best profile possible. Click here to book your advising session today!

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