In New Item on the College Admission Checklist: LinkedIn Profile, (Nov. 5, 2016) The New York Times reported that a company called Social Assurity is teaching high school students how to set up a LinkedIn page in order to “shape their online images” in anticipation of applying to college. It was not clear whether this “shaping” was an effort to counterbalance an pre-existing “online image” that would be unattractive to a “snooping” college, or was intended to help the students “gain an edge with colleges.” However, as reporter Natasha Singer noted, many believe that LinkedIn is not appropriate tool for kids: there are privacy and fairness issues and concern about the “professionalization of childhood.”
Additionally, we are used to seeing adult job experience on a LinkedIn page. Summer jobs, courses and travel (no matter how impressive for a teenager) can appear trivial in that professional context.
High school students want to show what they can do - but they also recognize the limitations of LinkedIn. One student, who is building a personal website to display a “fuller picture of his experience and interests,” said: “On LinkedIn, they see what you are good at . . . [b]ut they don’t really get to know you.”
Getting to know you . . . .
Showcasing what you can do, and having a “resume” for college IS a good idea – in the right forum. For many years, college guidance counselors have encouraged students to draft a written resume on paper – a succinct and organized articulation of interests, achievements and commitments – which is useful to have on hand when filling out applications, requesting recommendations and reviewing colleges with a guidance counselor.
But paper is so yesterday! trovvit offers students help creating a digital profile that is easy to update and share. Unlike LinkedIn, trovvit is designed for students, is COPPA and CIPA compliant AND is free and available to any kid, anywhere. In addition, you can link your profile to your trovvit portfolio - where you can visually demonstrate your mastery and experience.
Colleges should be able to see “a fuller picture” of your learning experiences – when you choose to share it.
LinkedIn is for people looking for jobs. There is time enough for that.