LinkedIn may help students apply for college

Like most teens, Matthew Martratt loves playing around on social media sites.

"We use Twitter, we use Instagram. We use Facebook a lot."

But when he started applying to colleges Martratt realized he wanted a social media presence that was a little more grown up. So he signed up for a course to help him create a professional resume on LinkedIn.

"I'm highly involved in my marching band at high school, and I'm also a Boy Scout. So a lot of my LinkedIn is actually extra curricular activities."

While LinkedIn has long been a go-to for adult job hunters, now college seeking high school students are flocking to the site.

A recent study by Kaplan found 40-percent of admissions officers admit to checking social media sites and 29-percent said they Google prospective students.

"Colleges are not looking at their social media for reasons to reject them. They're looking at their social media to find reasons to learn more about them. To accept them," said Alan Katzman, Founder and CEO Social Assurity.

Katzman founded Social Assurity, which offers digital literacy classes for students. He believes LinkedIn can be key in a college search.

"LinkedIn is filled with actionable resources that students can use to learn more about the colleges, to learn about where the alumni are working, what they majored in."

"You have the potential for really creating a very positive image as well as making sure your negative image isn't there," said Patrick O'Connor, College Admissions Counseling.

O'Connor said a professional site can be a great tool for students as long as they do not become too future focused.

"Students may feel pressure to really perform in a certain way that limits their willingness to try out new things in high school just because it might not 'look good' on their social media account, or look good to a college."

As for Martratt, he hopes to use social media to shape his future.

"It's such an important part of my life. I want to be able to use it strongly."

A few years back LinkedIn lowered the minimum age in the US to create a profile from 18 to 14-years-old. However, these accounts are subject to more restrictive privacy settings in order to help keep teens safe online.
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