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Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Colleges Look to Social Media to Vet Incoming Students
Some colleges use social media to vet students in the college admission process. Sometimes. And no one really knows why or how much. In fact, while many colleges admit to rejecting students based on negative social media profiles, some pay no attention to it at all.
The NY Times published a warning article on the subject this week which has gone fairly viral: NY Times . I couldn't help but wonder why this was so newsworthy, given that this isn't new news.
As usual, emotions seem to run hottest in the comments section.
Some people seem bothered that schools would reject students based on an offensive Twitter post, without first telling them. Like it's some kind of due process violation. It seems to me colleges have been rejecting students for years without ever having to divulge their reasons. The college admissions process has never been fully fair.
Another constitutional fear seems to be the potential restriction on free speech. Um, okay. Students should be allowed to post what they want on Facebook without fear of retribution from the college that hasn't yet accepted them. That's a little like streaking through Microsoft's boardroom for your interview, not getting the job, and then grumbling that the company's cramping your freedom of expression.
To me, the take-home message here is simple. If your college of choice is reading 80,000 applications for 10,000 spots, they probably don't have time to comb through your Twitter feed.
If you're applying somewhere smaller, maybe you take your beer bong pictures off your Facebook page. Will drunken pics hurt your chances of college admission? Who knows? I certainly can't think of a scenario where they'd help.
Finally? It's okay to be young and dumb. Sometimes that has consequences, and sometimes it doesn't. Growing up is about measuring those sorts of risks.
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