More and more college admissions reps are checking potential students’ Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts, and general web presence, during the application review process than ever before, found a survey released Oct. 4 by Kaplan Test Prep.
The survey interviewed 350 admissions representatives from the country’s top 500 schools by telephone, according to the news release.
More admissions reps are also finding things that are negatively impacting students’ chances of getting into a particular school. Last year, 12% of admissions officers said they found something on a student’s social media pages that negatively impacted their chances of admission; this year, that number has increased to 35%.
The most common things students did to negatively impact their chances via social media were essay plagiarism, vulgarities in blogs, alcohol consumption in photos, illegal activities, and, simply, things that made admissions reps “wonder.”
Currently, more than one in four (26%) of admissions representatives check an applicant’s Facebook, and slightly more (27%) “Google” an applicant. When Kaplan first began tracking the impact of social media on student admissions in 2008, only 10% of admissions officers said they checked a student’s Facebook profile.
Jeff Olson, vice president of data science for Kaplan Test Prep, said in a news release that schools are “philosophically divided” on whether or not they should use students’ online profiles and activities in the admissions process.
”The majority of admissions officers do not look beyond the submitted application, but our advice to students is to think first, Tweet later,” he said in the release.
Very few schools (15%) have rules regarding whether or not an applicant’s social networking pages can be checked. Of schools with a policy, 69% prohibit admissions officers from checking out an applicant’s profile.
Follow Anna Schumann on Twitter at @ASchumannCMN.