Parents of college students looking for college scholarships must become socially savvy, if they aren’t already. In the old movie Spencer’s Mountain (Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara starred in this movie by Earl Hamner, writer of the Waltons), they try to find a way for their oldest son Clay Boy to go to college. In order for him to qualify for a scholarship, he has to learn Latin quickly.
Last year, KFC Scholars gave away a $20,000 scholarship in a Twitter contest, to a student who won with a single Tweet.
Colleges and scholarship committees routinely do social media background checks to ensure top applicants’ presence online matches the carefully crafted applications, essays, and interviews.
New century, new skills. If you want an edge up on scholarship hunts, you and your teen need to learn to use social media pronto. And I don’t just mean how to post a status and a picture. It’s knowing what to post and how to post. And knowing what not to post. Social savvy is like the vitamin supplement to a scholarship search.
Basic tips to get started:
- Google search news alert is your friend. This lets you receive regular emails for any new online sites that mention a name or phrase.
- Makeovers aren’t just for homes or fashion. A teen who has been online since age 13 may need to do some spring cleaning of old information. I help business people package themselves online and sometimes help teens as well. Sometimes, it’s a matter of learning best practices.
- Twitter is your ally. With the hash tag #CollegeChat, I have learned countless tips this year to help me better help my daughter with scholarship applications.
- Colleges are already here. Colleges are watching what students post and Tweet. They are inviting applicants and incoming freshmen to join Facebook groups. Some are creating parent groups as well. Some are friending incoming freshmen. This is an opportunity for students and their families to distinguish themselves from the pack with constructive posts and the ability to ask good questions.
In Spencer’s Mountain, Clay Boy learns Latin, wins the scholarship, and goes to college. Of course, he later goes on to become a writer of hit movies and TV series.
For me, my teens are at the beginning of their scholarship and college journeys. I don’t know what the ending will be. But I do know that savvy use of social media is a tool in their college prep arsenal to give them their best chance at a better education.