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How College Admissions Officers Use Google, Facebook, LinkedIn…

How do college admissions officers use social networks like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn? Do you have a Facebook or LinkedIn account? Have you checked those accounts today? What if a friend posted a silly comment or hacked into your account as joke and changed your information – just to be funny? Or what if you’ve been tagged in someone’s photo and it shows a side you’d rather not let anyone see…?

Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at issues surrounding students and the internet. An ubiquitous and seemingly benign tool, the internet gives us access to millions of websites and presents countless opportunities to network and connect with different people. It’s general knowledge that companies check potential employees’ online personas. Guess what? Admissions counselors are online, too.

Admission counselors at many schools have admitted that they check online profiles of students before interviews, and during the admission process. In the case of two comparable students, online profiles might be checked to see which applicant’s online profile matches their application materials most.

It’s not all bad news for students though. If you use Twitter or Facebook or have an open blog, use the publicity to your advantage! On Facebook, you can “like” the colleges you are applying to. If admissions counselors are checking your profiles, make sure your profile matches your application materials – favorite books, music, groups, activities, etc. If you put down “sleeping” as a favorite activity, you might want to edit that.

You also have the option of changing your privacy settings for almost any online presence you have. Remember – the default setting for most websites, blogs, and social networking sites is “public,” which means you are searchable in Google and Bing. Once you turn your privacy settings to “private,” it might take a week for the result to disappear from the search engine, but in the meantime the link will be inaccessible.

If you aren’t sure how much of a public profile you have – search yourself now. You can also go to information tracking websites like Spokeo to see what information about you is available to the public online. You’re not being narcissistic; you’re being safe.


This post is titled, “Students And The Internet Part 3: College Admissions.” It was written by Marta Casey, a writer on Top Test Prep’s team.

To learn more about Top Test Prep’s programs, call (800) 501 – Prep.

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