Survey: Admissions Officers Check Social Media Pages, Students Don't Care
More college admissions officers are looking at
social media pages, but students don't care, according to both
officials and high school students who responded to Kaplan
Test Prep surveys
earlier this year.
Kaplan polled 403 admissions officers last summer and
that 35 percent of those who responded said they had visited applicants'
to learn more about them. That is the highest percentage since Kaplan
tracking the issue in 2008. Six years ago, only 16 percent of admissions
officers who responded said they checked social media pages.
Meanwhile, a second e-mail survey of 520 students in
found that 58 percent of those who responded described their social
activity as "fair game" for admissions officers. More than a third
said they thought
their chances of getting into a college would be enhanced if admissions
officers visited their personal sites while only 3 percent thought it
hurt their chances. Nearly two-thirds of the students who responded said
wouldn't matter much one way or the other.
Kaplan officials said the survey results indicate
social media use becomes more ubiquitous, there is a greater acceptance
is as a tool by college admissions officers. At the same time, students
learning that they will be held accountable for the "digital trails"
In fact, 18 percent of the students surveyed said
they plan to
use their social media channels to enhance their chances of college
Paralleling that survey finding is the discovery that
percent of the admissions officers surveyed reported finding things that
negatively impact applicants' chances of admissions — compared to 30
last year and 35 percent two years ago.
Still, Kaplan Test Prep representatives said social media
is not playing any kind of significant role in the decisions admissions
"Admissions chances are still overwhelmingly decided
traditional factors of high school GPA, standardized test scores,
letters of recommendation,
personal essays and extracurricular activities," said Christine Brown,
executive director of K-12 and college prep programs for Kaplan Test
bottom line for student is that what you post online likely won't get
college, but it just might keep you out."
The college admissions officers surveyed by Kaplan
were from colleges and universities mentioned in the U.S.
News & World Report's
most recent survey of higher education. Students surveyed had all
SAT prep course.
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.