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
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.