September 19, 2008

Social Networking Has a Catch


Here's yet another reason to be careful what you put on MySpace: Some college admissions officers do check out applicants' profiles.

One out of 10 admissions officers looked at applicants' social networking Web sites as part of their evaluations, according to a survey of 320 top U.S. colleges released Thursday by Kaplan, a test prep company. Alas, 38 percent of the officers said seeing the sites had a negative impact on their admissions decisions, while about 25 percent said these viewings gave a more positive impression.

The study cited a case where an admissions officer glimpsed a student's boast that he "aced" the school's application process. The officer rejected him.

"The vast majority of schools we surveyed said they have no official policies or guidelines in place regarding visiting applicants' social networking Web sites - nor are they considering plans to develop them," said Jeff Olson, executive director of research for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. One officer noted that it's impossible to judge the veracity of claims on these sites. Most parents surveyed said it was unfair for admissions officers to consider these profiles when evaluating candidates.

Meanwhile, about 25 percent of colleges surveyed do subscribe to Web sites developed for the specific purpose of helping students post Facebook-like profiles for the application process.

Kaplan found that admissions officers for graduate schools in business, law and medicine also look at social network sites.

(c) 2008 Record, The; Bergen County, N.J.. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.