At least ten of Harvard’s accepted students had their admissions revoked after the university discovered social media messages, memes, and other content online they deemed unacceptable. On a group page for newly admitted students, a group of participants “lightheartedly” posted inappropriate content that Harvard officials discovered. The jokes got out of hand, and after rescinding the students’ admissions offers, Harvard said their decision was final.
Bad judgment on social media is taken very seriously by colleges.
All students should remember that very little, if anything, you do online is private. While you can protect yourself online somewhat by being “incognito”, a person who wants to know your digital “secrets”, “messages”, and “movements”, can find even those you erased.
If you dream of attending a top college, you should be very careful of what you post. Posting an image or a joke to a friend at a party might seem “fun” or “friendly”, but colleges look at pranks, jokes, or explicit images as being offensive, rude, and unbecoming of one of their students and eventual graduates. You should consider your posts through the eyes of employers and admissions representatives, especially at places where hundreds or even thousands of applicants are equally qualified.
Use Caution! Be careful what you share. Especially now, with a greater focus on diversity, colleges wonder if you would make a good roommate or offend a classmate on a team project. This topic is at the top of the minds of colleges actively seeking a broader mix of students in their programs.
Your admission can be revoked for other reasons, like behavior, low grades, academic dishonesty, lying on an application, or violating their early decision/early action admissions rules. One year, I had a heartbroken Brown ED student lose his admission due to a senior year D. The parents were heartbroken too.
Earning a C in your senior year might cause Stanford to revoke your admission. Admissions representatives severely admonished one of my accepted Restricted Early Action students to Stanford for earning three Bs when taking eight classes, including six APs, in her senior year. One of my students admitted to UCI earned two Ds and lost his spot.
A low grade is not the only factor students should consider. Colleges are concerned with cheating and inappropriate behaviors.
Some schools require students to sign an honor pledge or Honor Code. Honor Codes typically include a student’s pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or other offenses. Students are either encouraged to self-report or report peers who committed a violation. Often, enrolled students manage the adjudication process. Students who violate this code can be permanently expelled or subject to a year off. There are more than sixty colleges with Honor Codes. One massive scandal occurred at West Point, where more than fifty students were required to repeat an entire year of school after cheating on a calculus exam.