Social Media As A Topic For The College Essay

By: Jessica Brauser, M.S., LMSW

Attention high school students, particularly seniors. There is a prevalent theme going on in essay writing, and you ought to be aware, so you do not submit a generic essay on the matter. Social Media as a topic for your college essay must be based on your personal experience and perspective.

In my past three essay brainstorming sessions, each student proposed a similar idea: “Social media and how it affects my life.” While all of the students live in various parts of the world, Miami, South Carolina, and Beijing, and their words were slightly different, each student had a similar observation of their world.

Now, as a seasoned education consultant, I’ve never had students propose the same essay idea, nor have any of my students written about similar topics in the same application season. But, for me, to go to three meetings, and hear the same three themes each time, I had to pause, and figure this one out.

[(Note*) by the time I met with the third student, I told him about the trend, but there is more here than just a college admissions warning.]

You, Class of 2019, grew up in a remarkable era. Social media has been a part of your adolescent and pre-pubescent identity. You can share dynamic group chats with your friends, exchange photos and videos 24/7, and experience a layer of communication that is 100% unique to your generation. Admissions counselors who are reading your applications grew up with social media too but in a different form.

When I joined Facebook in 2004, I was an undergraduate at Tufts University, and the online platform was only for current college students. I remember too my first experiences with the Internet in the mid-late 90s. My dad and I sat together at his desktop computer, and we waited for the dial modem to connect my Prodigy with whatever primitive form of the social web that we were using.

Now that was my experience, but you, Class of 2019, have been logged on and linked into social networks for much longer than most admissions counselors when they were your age. Whether your friends come from Xbox games or Snapchat, your circles are magical. You don’t need to socialize in person, and you can use your fingertips and camera lenses to express yourself in group exchange. You are mostly accustomed to making instant connections. Human interaction is evolving as you transition into your young adult years.

Why Social Media Guidance Is Important

This culture (because it is more than just technology) has affected many of you to the core, and I understand why three teenage boys each proposed the same essay idea, even if it seems odd and highly coincidental. For that matter, it is crucial for the high school senior who is thinking about writing about social media as a topic for the college essay to be aware: Your view on social media might not be unique. You are a teenager growing up in a socialized world that is quickly embracing new technologies and perspectives. When you write your essay, make sure that if you do approach social media as a topic for the college essay, you do it through your own eyes and experiences.

I would be delighted to read different essays about social media because it’s a fascinating topic that reaches many departments of academia, but, I am concerned that teenagers do not realize that their experience with social media- both positive and negative– are widespread and normal.  It’s just the world you live in today.

So please, if you are going to write about Social Media, tell the admissions committee something new. Tell them how you are embracing and influencing this new world. Tell them something that can only come from YOUR PERSPECTIVE AND EXPERIENCE.—

Jessica Brauser, M.S., LMSW studied at Tufts University, where she developed an interest in the media’s influence on conscience and development.

If you would like to speak with a counselor about your essay ideas, College Connections, LLC has the human power and resources to help you articulate your vision for a perfect personal statement.

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