The Ivy Coach Daily

March 10, 2011

Social Media and College Admissions

College admissions officers are checking the FB profiles of applicants more and more.

Social media is a hot topic in college admissions. The question so many students and parents often pose is: Do college admissions officers check the Facebook pages of their applicants? The short answer is…no. College admissions officers don’t have the time to peruse every applicant’s Facebook page. In a word, it’s impractical. But does that mean you should have content on your Facebook page or on other social media outlets that you wouldn’t want an admissions officer to see? Of course not!

Just because admissions officers don’t check every applicant’s Facebook page doesn’t mean they won’t check your Facebook page. What if you’re a borderline candidate whose application has gone to committee? And just because admissions officers tend not to check your Facebook page, that may not be the case for alumni interviewers. Alumni interviewers only meet with a small batch of applicants. As such, they have more time on their hands to peruse an interviewee’s Facebook page if they so wish.

In fact, alumni interviewers quite frequently take a look at your Facebook page either before the interview when they are trying to figure out how to recognize you at a crowded Starbucks or after the interview when they are completing their evaluations. Since alumni only interview a certain number of students, they want to be able to share information that can be helpful to the admissions office in formulating a decision. Alumni interviewers thus often have not only the time but also the motivation to check your Facebook page.

A journalist penned a column in The Seattle Times this week arguing that college applicants can use social media to their competitive advantage in the college admissions process. We agree — there are indeed ways to market one’s art portfolio or accomplishments on the viola online for college admissions officers. There are ways to carefully use the Internet to improve your case for admission. But by keeping your privacy preferences open to the public or by having it up there at all, one also runs the risk of unintentionally sharing information with people who will have an influence on one’s admissions decisions. Is it worth the risk? You decide.

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