Admissions counselors looking up applicants on social media platforms is not a new phenomenon. In fact, we have posted many previous blog posts on the subject including topics on: admissions and Facebook, how to interact with colleges on Facebook and privacy settings on Facebook as related to admissions. However, a new study is a good reminder that it may be time to clean up your online presence if you are a college applicant.
Back in 2008, Kaplan Test Prep started looking into the use of Facebook by college admissions counselors. As this time, only one in 10 admissions officers reported checking applicants’ social networking page. However, in Kaplan’s newest 2012 study they found some surprising information. They found that over a quarter of college admissions officers today include Google or Facebook review in their applicant evaluations. In fact, they found that 35% of these admissions officers report discovering information that negatively impacted the prospective student.
Some of the offenses they found included: plagiarism, alcohol consumption in photos, and “illegal activities.” The most obvious suggestion I could make is to encourage students to abstain from making poor choices in the first place. However, it is also a necessary reminder for students about how they are risking their own privacy by sharing these choices with the public social media world. So, as you are going through the application process this is a perfect reminder to clean up your profile, make sure your privacy settings are in order, and confirm there isn’t anything out there floating around that you wouldn’t want an admissions counselor to read about you.