Social Media a Factor in College Admissions

Making your Facebook profile private isn’t a sure way to hide your darkest secrets from the public eye anymore. College applicants have learned this the hard way in recent years.

As more and more high school students record their lives online on social media sites, college admissions officers are looking to round out students’ applications with a peek at their

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online profile. And what they see often hurts more than it helps.

Facebook, which allows users to control who sees their profile, is no longer the only social network that high school kids join. Twitter, Instagram and Youtube are increasingly popular — and they are more difficult to set to private. Admissions officers are searching applicants on Facebook, but they’re also looking on Google for a more complete digital trail. While the percentage of officers who do this has only gone up slightly since last year, the number who reported finding something that negatively impacts the candidate’s chances increased drastically, from 12 percent to 35 percent, according to a Kaplan survey.

Officials reported finding all kinds of things: a vulgar blog post, photos of alcohol consumption, essay plagiarism.

The information that admissions officers glean from online profiles rarely helps an applicant. So as you’re sending in your carefully crafted application, check to make sure that your online profile looks just as good. Google yourself often. Realize that not everything in your life needs to be put online. As one official from Kaplan put it: think first, tweet later.

Claire Perlman

Claire Perlman is a senior at UC Berkeley who covers Technapex's higher education beat. She is majoring in English literature and worked at her college’s student newspaper, The Daily Californian, for two years as a science reporter and news editor. She is currently working at UC Berkeley’s Mark Twain Project transcribing Twain’s letters and unpublished manuscripts.

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About Claire Perlman

Claire Perlman is a senior at UC Berkeley who covers Technapex's higher education beat. She is majoring in English literature and worked at her college’s student newspaper, The Daily Californian, for two years as a science reporter and news editor. She is currently working at UC Berkeley’s Mark Twain Project transcribing Twain’s letters and unpublished manuscripts.