Not surprisingly more than 90 percent of teens report daily use of social media. However, what may come as a shock is 50 percent of college admissions officers admit to looking at prospective students’ social profiles to gain deeper insights into their character, and 92 percent of employers look at social media before making hiring decisions.
Many young people are not aware of the impact social media can have on their future goals. The Social U helps students ensure their social media profiles and related online content are optimized for college and graduate school admissions, as well as internships and employment. The feedback comes in a form students are already familiar with, a Social [Media] GPA.
“Today’s kids are practically born with a smartphone in hand. Pair this with imperfect decision making and social media mistakes are bound to happen,” said The Social U Founder Julie Fisher. “However, banning teens from social media all together can have a negative impact on students’ academic and professional opportunities. Instead of prohibiting our kids from using these platforms, we should be teaching our kids how to use them safely and appropriately so their social interactions online enhance their lives and don’t lead to future problems.”
Fisher founded The Social U to give students, their families and schools the tools, insights and expertise they need to manage students’ streams of social media data and prepare for the rigors of the college admissions process.
Using a cutting-edge technology suite, including IBM’s Watson, The Social U grades each social network using a proprietary algorithm that scans for high-risk words, phrases and images. The Social U then provides students with a numerical calculation – their Social GPA™ – and a full set of tools to help students identify social network mistakes.
Students can see how likely a decision-maker is to have access to dangerous posts and what kind of First Impression they will make so they can quickly correct problem posts. In a full report, students have one click access to every problem post and can learn why it was flagged, get adjustment recommendations and instantly edit or delete the flagged content.
Students can secure their Social GPA for free. To access a full report – with the ability to monitor social media content, view questionable posts and learn how to improve a Social GPA – three-day, one-month and full year subscriptions are available, ranging from $9.95 to $149.95. School districts and verified counselors also are able to purchase The Social U to support student progress and growth online. Many school districts have shown interest in securing the program for their students, and some – like Alcona Community Schools in Lincoln, Michigan, and Orange City School District in Pepper Pike, Ohio, near Cleveland – have already purchased student subscriptions and are using them as part of their college prep process. In October, the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy provided its students with access to the program for free, with extra credit promised to those who improve their Social GPA scores.
The Social U Leadership
The Social U was founded by Julie Fisher, a seasoned educator and sought-after keynote speaker who gives more than 100 presentations every year to parents, students, school staff and administrators. Also president and CEO of nonprofit Building Better Families through Action, Fisher has been educating on the prevention of destructive behaviors in kids and teens since 2007 and is a recognized authority within parenting and education circles for helping students and their families manage 21st century issues.
Ted Spencer, former Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Michigan and current Senior Advisor on Admissions Outreach at the University of Michigan, advises The Social U on what students and parents need to know and provides insider’s insights direct from the college admissions office.
The Origins of The Social U
The Social U was inspired by an interaction with a young athlete Fisher met during a presentation in front of a group of talented Detroit high school athletes who were looking to make the leap to collegiate sports. As she addressed them on the importance of being smart on social media, one young man with a checkered social media footprint was not sure how he could fix the potential damage he had already done.
This became a recurrent theme during all her presentations on social media and protecting digital footprints. Fisher realized she was unable to point parents, students, teachers and administrators to a trusted resource to help them find their way in the shifting social media landscape. So, Fisher created one.