College Admissions Officers Are Judging You By Your Online Profile

October 18, 2012  |  

You probably could’ve guessed it, but now we have scientific proof: College admissions officers are checking things out online when they consider applicants. And more and more, they don’t like what they see.

Kaplan Test Prep, the well-known company that provides tutoring courses to prepare for standardized tests like the SAT and GMAT, surveyed 350 college admissions officers from among the nation’s top 500 schools. “The percentage of admissions officers who searched Google and Facebook increased slightly from last year to 27 percent and 26 percent, respectively, but the number of searches that turned up something that soured the officers’ attitudes jumped from 12 percent to 35 percent,” USA Today reports. Ruh-roh.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Keep the crazy off the Internets if your accounts are public. Check your Facebook privacy settings so you can better manage who can tag you and where or when those posts appear. And parents, talk with your children about their online presence, reminding them that behavior captured by the Web stays caught in it and is available to the public.

Among the things that are setting off the admissions officers are plagiarism (don’t ever take credit for other people’s work!), drinking alcohol and using profanity.

Jeff Olson, VP of data science at Kaplan said in a press release statement:

With regard to college admissions, the traditional application — the essays, the letters of recommendation — represent the polished version of an applicant, while often what’s found online is a rawer version of that applicant. Schools are philosophically divided on whether an applicant’s digital trail is fair game, and the majority of admissions officers do not look beyond the submitted application, but our advice to students is to think first, Tweet later.

Good advice.


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