A lot of news outlets started out this week reporting a strange, borderline feel-good story this week – that star football player Jay Harris from Downingtown High School East in Exton, PA turned down a full football scholarship from Michigan State to pursue his dreams as a rapper.
It turns out that the real story is somewhat different.
There has been a dramatic increase in the lengths to which college recruiters go to vet scholarship candidates, including looking at their online activity.
If you are a high school athlete dreaming (realistically) of landing a scholarship, you have probably spent thousands of hours in practice, games and the gym. A free ride to a great school would be a tremendous boon to your and your family, and a handsome repayment for your effort. If you’re a typical American teenager, you’ve probably also spent a lot of time online.
The fact of the matter is, the folks who will decide whether to give you an athletic scholarship or move on to the next guy will look at more that your sports stats and your GPA.
“We look at social media constantly,” one Mid-American Conference School’s recruiting coordinator said. “We have several eyes looking at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all the time. Most of the kids seem to not get the fact that social media is open to the public. They also seem to not understand that scholarship offers have been lost because of things we’ve seen on social media.”
Even if you think that your social media history is clean, it might make sense to have someone take a second look before a college recruiter does. There might be an account on a network that you’ve forgotten about or don’t use any more, or perhaps an online argument that you had with someone might be viewed as a bullying incident. Even the amount of time that you spend online could raise questions. And don’t forget that people won’t just be looking for things posted by you, they also may find something posted by others about you.
At JD College Consulting, we partner with a technology expert to audit high school prospects’ social media profiles and history to make sure there is nothing that will preclude a student athlete from being offered the scholarship that he has worked so had to earn. Contact us now for more details.