Everyone remembers the experience of waiting for college offers to come in. Whether it was years waiting for that big package to come in the mail or in more modern times an email from a .edu address. It is an incredibly exciting moment not just for the student but also their family and friends.

For student-athletes that excitement can be even greater, given the importance that American society places on college athletics. There is the pageantry aspect to it (taking a picture with one’s college sweatshirt, putting on the hat, and taking a picture with family and coaches) but there is also the sense of accomplishment too. Only about 8 and 10 percent of U.S. boys and girls high school soccer players will go on to play college soccer at any level. Players and their families can and should share their acceptance announcements so that friends and family can also enjoy the moment.

But there is also a rising tide in the college recruiting process of high school players announcing that they have received an offer from a college to play soccer. While it is understandable for a player to want to share any offers that they receive there are pitfalls. An offer post is not an acceptance post and while the player’s original intent may be positive, the post may be interpreted differently by those reading it.

When making a decision on whether or not to post a college commitment offer:

Always Read The Fine Print

Written college offers will often contain very specific guidelines for what can be posted on social media and when they can be posted. Parents and players should always read through each document carefully and make sure that they understand the colleges guidelines on social media commitments. If it says that you cannot publicly post an offer, don’t. Doing so could potentially result in your offer being pulled.

If there are no clear guidelines on posting the offer, the best practice is to ask the head coach or point of contact listed on the offer letter. Explain in the message why you want to make the post, make it clear that you haven’t made a decision, and thank them for their offer.

Is This The Best Representation Of Myself?

When a player makes posts on their public social account, it is critical that they not only think about why they are making a post. Whether it is college commitment information, results from a good game, or sharing news of an academic project that they were working on each post should be carefully crafted and given time to breathe (in other words, don’t just come up with an idea and immediately post it). Players should take their time with each posts and make sure that this is the type of information that they want to share with themselves out in the world. Remember, there is no rush!

Get Feedback Before You Post

Before posting anything on their social media accounts, it is important that players talk to someone about what they are planning on posting. Whether it is a parent, a family member, a coach, a teacher, or a trusted friend having someone not just to check their spelling/grammar but also to bounce ideas off of and help in the creative process is critical. These individuals have a wealth of information to draw on and want to see the player succeed. In particular coaches and teachers have extensive experience in the college process.

If You Are Still Unsure Then Don’t Post

Once a post is live, it is live for the world to see. While deleting it may remove it, it is still entirely possible that someone may have screen shotted it. Again: players should take their time with each post they make. As a player, if you have any doubt about posting an offer then the answer seems simple: don’t. At the end of the day it is just an offer and not an acceptance.

While it is exciting to receive an offer it may be more prudent to share the news privately with close friends and family and wait to put the acceptance on social media. That may sound a bit old-fashioned but remember: one’s social media accounts are a reflection of themself and when going through the college recruiting process it is important to keep things positive and avoid controversy.

For more on the topic, view this recent Twitter thread started by longtime coach and recruiting expert Don Williams: