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Monday, March 31, 2014
A Different Take on Social Media in College Admissions
Last November, I peppered a blog with my opinions about the use of social media in college admissions. The test prep company Kaplan had recently released results of a poll which, loosely speaking, indicated that about a third of college admissions officers had Googled or checked an applicant's Facebook page.
Of course, the news set off a flurry of cautionary articles, encouraging aspiring college students to scrub their social media profiles clean. I noted that drunken party pictures can't possibly help a student through the process. The reality, though, is that colleges don't actually have the resources to do much poking around on the web.
In fact, some universities have policies which explicitly exclude such searches from the vetting process. Lisa Przekop, Director of Admissions at the University of California, Santa Barbara was quoted as saying that, "Our readers here at UC Santa Barbara are told specially do not refer to social media. We don't Google a student. The information that they present in their application is the only information we use in our decision."
The UC Berkeley admissions office has said in the past that "googling" applicants would destroy the integrity of the whole process. The Director of Admissions at the small, elite Harvey Mudd College scoffed at the idea, noting "I could chase my tail for a long number of hours."
For reference, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara combined process upwards of 160,000 student applications a year. Harvey Mudd processes around 3,000. None of them are interested in the extra work of combing applicant Twitter feeds.
Time could change things, of course. But for now, high school students can focus on things like grades and tests-not their Snapchat account.
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