Besides your vast network of friends, who else might be lurking on your Facebook page? According to Kaplan Test Prep‘s 2013 survey of college admissions officers, it may be the colleges and universities to which you apply.
The survey polled 381 admissions officers in national, regional and liberal arts colleges and universities across the United States. It found that 29 percent of college admissions officers Googled an applicant’s name or visited Facebook or other social networking pages to gain information on the student.
This is the highest percentage since Kaplan began to survey this issue in 2008, when only 10 percent of college admissions officers used Google or social media to learn more about a student, according to the Kaplan Test Prep website.
Miami University does not Google its applicants or visit social networking pages to learn more about them, according to Director of Admission Ann Larson.
“It’s generally a time issue,” Larson said. “We spend a lot of time reviewing the academic information about a student so we feel very committed to that comprehensive holistic review and we spend our time there versus looking into any of the social media pieces.”
Larson said the concept of Googling applicants or checking social networking pages is an ongoing conversation among college admissions officers across the nation. She said the issue is discussed at the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the national organization that connects college admissions to high school college counseling.
“We’re certainly aware of the conversation,” Larson said. “It always comes up when we’re at our national meetings. It’s certainly a conversation piece among admission offices but at this point, it’s not on our radar.”
First-year Autumn King said she is surprised Miami does not check the social networking profiles of applicants.
“I feel like it is something very important that shows who the people are and I feel like that’s something they should check for their prospective students,” King said.
Larson said the only time Miami might pursue information on social media is if an anonymous source suggested something unusual about an applicant that the admissions office might want to investigate. These cases happen rarely and generally relate to disciplinary matters, according to Larson.
“It’s usually a disciplinary issue,” Larson said. “Sometimes anonymous sources will refer you to something very specific, information in a news article, or we need to follow up with the school. It’s just wise for any university to check.”
However, up to this point Miami has not visited social networking pages to look into these concerns, Larson said.
The practice of not looking online for information about a student is not set in stone, according to Larson.
“It’s not as though we’re spot checking social media, but I wouldn’t want [students] to believe that it’s an absolute,” Larson said. “It’s not part of our review for fall 2014 but should it come up that we need to explore something or investigate, we will.”
First-year Dustin Cruse said he thought Miami would check the social networking pages of prospective students.
“They seem to hold a standard here,” Cruse said.
Cruse said he would not have been worried about the content of his Facebook page when applying to Miami.
“I don’t really have anything on there that I wouldn’t want them to see,” Cruse said.
First-year Jason Singer said he is not surprised Miami does not check applicants’ social networking pages.
“I feel like they probably realize it’s an invasion of privacy and the things you’ve done in your past are the things you’ve done in your past,” Singer said.