21 March 2011

College Admission Specialists and Facebook

The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts from across the US answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school.

To have your questions answered visit www.unigo.com/expertquestions

“Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?” – Derrick L., New York, NY


Post publicly only material that would make your grandmother smile

Ralph Becker
Owner & Director
Ivy College Prep LLC

In September 2008, Kaplan surveyed 500 top colleges and discovered 10% of the admissions officers had investigated Facebook sites, discovering, in almost 40% of the cases, questionable content that reflected negatively on the candidate.  That was three years ago.  Facebook reviews are far more prevalent today and many junior admissions officers are savvy, inveterate users, who, if they need to, can find you on the Web.  If you must post something risqué (raucous parties, inflammatory remarks, drug or alcohol use), out of peer pressure…, make sure your privacy settings strictly control access. Otherwise, yes, you are gambling your candidacy.

Facebook postings can absolutely hurt your chance of being admitted
 
Susan Smith
Educational Consultant
Bedford Educational Consulting

Although many admissions office personnel are not as tech savvy as they might wish to be, the student volunteers and workers in the office are, and often the search for student applicants on Facebook falls to them.  Many candidates are definite – they are accepted or rejected for obvious reasons – but many more fall in that middle range, so that additional information that can be gleaned from viewing a Facebook page can help the committee make a decision.  Inappropriate or compromising content such as party pictures that could be embarrassing should be deleted, going back as far as might be necessary.

Admissions officers don’t routinely check, but be careful

Patti Demoff
Co-Founder
College Circuit



Few college admissions offices have the time, resources or inclination to routinely scour the internet and social media sites for incriminating information on applicants. However, most admissions officers I have spoken to acknowledge that they do occasionally check Facebook or Google students if there is something in an applicant’s file that is inconsistent or raises a red flag. Remember, it isn’t appropriate to post anything that could be considered abusive or demeaning to another person. Nor should there be profanity, references to or photos of drugs alcohol or illegal behavior. Always use privacy settings and do not “friend’ admissions officers.

Let your Facebook page reflect well upon you

Mary Beth Fry
Director of College Counseling
Savannah Country Day School



Consider this: when you apply to college, you’re asking to join a community. Colleges admit excellent students who also promise to be good roommates, great friends and interesting classmates. Profanities or extreme photos on a Facebook page just don’t reflect well on anyone. You’ve done your best in school and worked hard on your applications. Right now, today, would you want admission staffers to look at your Facebook wall? If not, consider making changes: even if admission staffers don’t read it, potential roommates probably will.

The implications of posting on social networking sites

Jennifer Evans
Counseling Department Chair
Broadneck High School

The short answer is a resounding YES! College admissions officers are extremely tech savvy and they know that this generation of prospective students is using social networking sites like Facebook all the time so they need to be in tune with it as well. Conscientious students should manage their online presence to ensure there is nothing inappropriate or compromising. Anything that is on the internet is in the public domain. Students should not post anything that they wouldn’t want a college, prospective employer, teacher, or parent to see. There is always a way for people to access this information.

Maybe. To Be Safe, Use the “Grandma Test” for Facebook

Majorie Shaevitz
Author & Founder
Admission Possible

Do they or don’t they? No one - except admissions officers themselves - knows for sure whether they peek at applicant Facebook accounts. Given that a NY Times article by Sarah Perez noted that “30% of today’s employers use Facebook to vet potential employees,” I’d say the chances are pretty good that some do. Emory University professor, Brian Croxall, offers the best advice I’ve ever seen at The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/six-steps-for-checking-your-facebook-privacy/30402) about how to protect your Facebook privacy. Then there’s the tongue-in-cheek, but oh-so-wise suggestion that to be safe, use the “Grandma test:" never put anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want Grandma to view.

Facebook postings can adversely impact admissions chances

Michael Goran
Director & Educational Consultant
IvySelect College Counseling

Using “The Social Network” can have consequences in the college admissions process! Although admissions officers don’t have time to regularly access applicants’ Facebook walls, a fair percentage of them do look at prospective students’ profiles. Still, students need to realize that if it’s public, it’s possible to see compromising items. If told about something that adversely reflects on your integrity or your behavior, admissions officers may go to Facebook to check it out. If you think it’s inappropriate – whether it’s a photo or a comment – don’t post it! The best advice is to clean things up and keep things private.

Yes, inappropriate postings can hurt chances for admission

Wynne Curry
College Advisor
Seven Hills School

The short answer to this question is yes. Facebook, for all its social utility and amusement, can also expose you, your life style, and habits in ways you never imagined. Just like an inappropriate email address can cause admissions officers to wonder about whom they’re dealing with (like partyanimal@aol.com for instance), photos of drunken parties or embarrassingly intimate poses can raise questions as well. Admissions officers are incredibly busy people and while they may not have time to fish around Facebook for incriminating information, students are often surprised by the ways in which their social networking information finds its way to admissions desks. Use good sense and judgment when posting any information.

Get the full story from 34 more experts – including the VP of the College Board, Dean of Admissions from University of Illinois and more – at www.unigo.com/expertnetwork. To send your question to our experts, visit www.unigo.com/expertquestions

About the Unigo Expert NETWORK:

The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts across the US dedicated to the success and well-being of high school students as they make the transition to college life. With members from two-year, four-year, private, public, and independent institutions, the network has over 3,000 years of collective experience, spanning all areas of admissions, financial aid, and how to succeed in college.

To see all members of the Unigo Expert Network, visit www.unigo.com/admissionsexperts
Unigo.com is the web’s largest, 100% free resource for college information, used by over 4 million high school students and parents.

11 comments:

Louise said...

I didn't realize that colleges really do make a background check on the candidates via facebook. This is a wake up call to be careful in choosing a college major and carelessly posting on social sites.

Allie said...

I wonder what would have happened if a medical billing specialist had weighed in on this issue.

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