If you’re a parent of a teenagers, and are having discussions with your kids about life after high school, also known as the college talk, you may want to include the warning that what your kids post of social media could possibly affect their ability college admission. Kaplan Test Prep recently did a survey of nearly 400 college admissions officers, and found that 40% of the admissions officers admitted to visiting applicants social media pages to learn more details on the applicant. According to Kaplan the following reasons are mentions as to why college admissions officers turn to social media
- Interest in Talents: Some admissions officer say they will visit an applicant’s social media page — often by the applicant’s own invitation — if the applicant mentions a special talent, for example, such as being a musician, artist, poet, writer, or model. In fact, 42% of admissions officers reported an increase in such invitations compared to two years ago.
- Verification of Awards: Citation of particularly distinguished or noteworthy awards can sometimes trigger an admissions officer’s online search for independent verification; as one officer noted, something “out of the norm.”
- Criminal Records or Disciplinary Action: Some admissions officers say that if an applicant mentions they have a criminal background or a record of disciplinary action, they will do some online digging to get more details.
- Scholarships: Students applying for special scholarships can come under greater scrutiny, as schools want to ensure those receiving the scholarships are fully deserving; extra due diligence can come in the form of online checking. .
- Admissions Sabotage: Anecdotally, admissions officers say they occasionally get anonymous tips about prospective students pointing them towards inappropriate behavior. They’ll sometimes dig online to see if it has merit.
Yariv Alpher, executive director of research, Kaplan Test Prep said “The growth of social media hasn’t made college admissions process a whole new ballgame, but it’s definitely changed the rules. What you post online can and may be used in your favor or against you, so it’s important to think about what you share. When in doubt, the best strategy may be to keep it to yourself.”