Digital Footprint Video – Class Discussion and Activity

Online Reputation Recap

Your Online Reputation

Who is Looking at Your Profile?

  • Colleges
  • Employers / Future Employers
  • Coaches
  • Family/Friends
  • Predators

Colleges Are Looking

According to a 2016 Kaplan Test Prep survey, 40% of college admissions officers use social media profiles to learn more about admissions candidates.  Do you think that number is going to keep going up?  35% of these college admissions officers found that social media had a positive impact on their perspective students, and 42% found it had a negative impact on applicants.  25% of these officers said they often use social media to help them make their decision on acceptance (up from 11%).

Why Applicants Get Reject (or in some cases their acceptance has been rescinded)

According to the college admissions officers in this study that saw negative posts, along with admissions officers I’ve spoken with, the types of posts that would raise flags include:

  • showing off weapons
  • questionable language
  • crude or racist comments
  • substance use
  • talking negative about current school


Employers Are Looking Too

According to a 2020 survey of over 500 business professionals in charge of hiring, 90%  of them use social media in the screening process.  79% have rejected applicants based on what they posted on social media.  What are some of the things they are searching for?

Some of the key factors include: 

  • Any type of hate speech
  • Images of illegal drug use
  • Illegal or illicit content
  • Negative comments about current or previous jobs or clients
  • Deceptive, scammy posts
  • Threats to people or past employers
  • Confidential or sensitive information about people or previous employers

In addition to this, 69% of these employers are also searching for their candidates on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.


Class Discussion Questions

Start the Discussion…

Q:  Do you think colleges should judge you for what you post online?

Q: Do you have posted anything you would not want a college admissions or potential employer to see?

Teacher Script

Note: The content below can only be viewed by teachers

Why are they googling you and finding you on social media?

Simple.  What they find online can be a more authentic view of you compared to just looking at your polished applications.  In fact, the majority of students surveyed consider their social networking sites to be ‘fair game’ for college admissions officers.”

Understand that what you post online is a direct representation of who you are.  It’s an extension of you.  Some companies are now starting to outsource this research to other companies that will find more than just what’s “public.”  Before you hit send, just think.  Would I want this on a billboard for everyone to see?  Does this represent me in a positive way?  Think before you hit send.

Class Activity Options:

Here are some activity ideas:

  1. Google Audit: Have students google themselves and take note of what comes up. This will give them a sense of what their current digital footprint looks like.
  2. Online Profile Makeover: Have students imagine schools, coaches, and potential employers looking at their social media profiles. What would they see? What would they think? Would they want you to be part of their team? Now, have the students go into their profiles and make adjustments. Put themselves in a positive place and remove any of the “red flags” that leads colleges, coaches, and employers reject people.
  3. Create a Positive Digital Footprint: Encourage students to start a blog or LinkedIn profile where they share their achievements, community service, or thoughts on specific topics. This can help them create a positive digital footprint that will be beneficial in the future.
  4. Privacy Settings Exploration: Have students review and adjust their privacy settings on various social platforms. This will help them understand how much information they’re actually sharing and with whom.

Remember, these activities should encourage open conversation and learning from each other.