3 tips about Facebook and applying to college
Did you know that at least one-third of college admissions staff admit checking Facebook and other social networking sites in reviewing applications? Were you aware that, according to one study, 79% of recruiters and hiring managers reviewed online information about potential employees?* Or that 45% of employers use social networks to screen job candidates?**
Many people working in the Admissions Office are in their twenties and thirties. They are tech-savvy and have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LiveJournal, etc. If an applicant stands out for one reason or another, it is not difficult to run a quick check on you. Of course there isn’t time to look up every student’s page, but if any warning signs appear from letters of recommendation or even someone trying to sabotage your admission, your posts and photos may be reviewed.
You know that college admission is very competitive. Colleges and universities want students who are upstanding citizens in all aspects of their lives. A graphic or lewd post or photo can backfire on you at this important time in your life. Admission officers have an obligation to check you out if they see questionable content in your application or receive disturbing reports from others about you.
1. Clean up your online presence. Google yourself to see if you appear anywhere else where a recruiter or employer can find you. Delete questionable posts and photos. See the stories about Stacy Snyder and Katie Evans for examples of a Facebook photo and post that caught up with these girls.
2. Put your best foot forward. Anyone looking for you will either use Facebook or Google. So, make sure the page that comes up reflects positively about yourself, your interests, passions, community work, etc. Refrain from posting negative comments about yourself or others.
3. Use common sense in all things digital. Put yourself in the shoes of someone reviewing your application. Ask yourself if you would admit or hire this person if you found online evidence of a sexual nature or drug usage, for example. In other words, keep your life in cyberspace limited to the same subjects you’d discuss in person with these people who are making important decisions about your future.
A survey in 2011 indicated that law school admissions officers are checking Facebook walls for information on student applicants. See this story for more:
*Microsoft Study, December, 2010.
**Harris Interactive Study done for CareerBuilder.com, August, 2010.
Update: In October, 2011 it was reported that Chinese authorities, in a national crackdown on narcotics sold through online chat rooms, arrested 12,000 suspects and seized hundreds of pounds of illicit drugs. 144 drug rings were invaded in the operation.