1. Make sure your Facebook page is squeaky clean.
Click through your photos and remove any that show you doing anything stupid, offensive, or illegal. In other words, if you wouldn’t show it to your math teacher, or if there’s a cup in anyone’s hand, hit delete. Read through your profile, favorite links, pages you’ve “liked,” etc., and use the same criteria. Do the same on Tumblr, Twitter, and anywhere else you have a digital presence.
2. Untag yourself.
Your pages may be clean, but your best friend just posted a picture that is definitely unsafe for college admissions officers…and tagged you in it! Untag yourself from questionable photos on anyone’s social networking page, even if the photos don’t show up on yours.
3. Google yourself.
If 20% of admissions officers are doing it, you should too. You may be surprised by where you pop up, and in what context. If you find anything potentially incriminating that you can’t remove yourself, ask the owner of the profile or website to take it down.
4. Set up an email account just for college applications.
Create a new email address and use it solely for correspondence related to applications, interviews, inquiries, and campus visits.
5. Repeat steps 1-3 until your acceptance letter arrives.
By definition, online profiles are continuously evolving. Scrub yours regularly and be diligent about searching for any digital evidence that may leave a less-than-stellar impression in an admissions officer’s mind.