I grew up in the era when if you had your own AOL instant messager screen name during middle school, that was just about the coolest thing ever. High school was marked by MySpace and then later by Facebook. As more and more time has progressed, Twitter became popular and now there is so much social media that it is difficult to stay up to date on all of it. One thing that is for sure with the wide burst of social media is that it makes it easier to learn about people’s lives, especially premed students interested in pursuing medicine.
Your Social Media Involvement Is Part of Your Application
You may think that AMCAS is the only thing that is looked at by admissions teams but this is just not true anymore. As more and more students are trying to get into medical school, admissions officers are casting a wider net for information in regards to applicants. This is where social media comes into play. If it is easy to find information about you on the internet, then it is fair game. Medical school is a rigorous four years and Residency is not any easier. Medical Schools do not want to accept or interview students if they seem to be too crazy and unable to handle the rigors of medical school. The reason for this is that they are investing a lot of time and money on you on the assumption that you will graduate from their medical school. So the best thing to do is if you are applying, you may either want to get rid of some of those crazy and weird photos that we all have or change your name on social media sites. You might be thinking “well if they do not like me then maybe I do not want to go to their medical school.” Although that is an appropriate response, you want to remember that their impression of you is highly skewed because what is seen on social media is just a small fragment of who you really are. So give yourself an honest chance at medical school by making sure the impression that medical school admissions officers see of you is the one you want them to.
Try Not to Get Into “Fights” Online
Many of us use social media as a venue of expressing our thoughts and there are times when those thoughts come off as meaning something you may not want. And then those thoughts can spiral into an argument with others highlighting negative characteristics of you that are magnified because of the specific situation you are in. We all have little quarks and personality traits that can annoy and bother others but because these characteristics do not define us, most people generally get along with us. However, if an admissions officer sees you ripping apart another person on social media based, it will cause you to look like you do not get along with other people even though you may have a lot of other friends who you do get along with. On social media, your fight with another person outweighs the tons of nice comments you may have.
Get Rid 0f Those Crazy Photos
Everyone has those pictures of themselves that are on the crazier side that may highlight a little too much partying. It may be a good idea to take some time and go through your pictures and maybe delete some of the more incriminating pictures so that you are not being judged based on those pictures. If going through your pictures and deleting pictures is not something you would prefer to do, another great idea is to make your privacy settings a little more tight so that not everyone can take a look at everything. If there are security settings in place prior to getting information on you then that may be a good deterrent. Prior to residency interviews, I made my settings on Facebook so that only friends can see my pictures and did not enable the “friends of friends” button which can include a lot of people. I also made my settings so that I have to accept all pictures that I am tagged in so that I have a good idea of what sorts of pictures of mine are being put online for the world to see.
Be Ready For Any Questions You May Be Asked
I never had this happen to me but I did hear some friends who stated that they were directly asked about something that the interviewer found online regarding the applicant. It is important to understand that these students had blogs online so in an effort to look up more about the applicant prior to the interview, the interviewer came across some of these pictures. The best thing to do is remain calm and answer to the best of your ability and not let it phase you. Many times interviewers will ask you purposefully to see how you will react and see if you will get flushed or nervous. Interviewers are known for throwing hard questions just to see how an applicant will react. This is a great way for medical schools to test you in a difficult setting and see how you react. Just remember that everyone has things about themselves that they would rather not share but be prepared to have a response if you are asked. It is always better to be prepared rather than internally freaking out if you are asked a difficult question because that internal reaction will show external signs on your face that will alarm an interviewer.