Study: Admissions officers don’t ‘Like’ your beerstagram

Published Oct. 9, 2012 on USA TODAY College.

It’s Facebook official: After years of suspecting college admissions officers’ decisions are influenced by what a Google search may turn up, Kaplan Test Prep released results of a 2012 survey that prospective students might not “Like.”

The survey, which polled 350 college admissions officers from the nation’s 500 top colleges and universities, found that the content officers find on social networking sites leads to increasingly negative views of applicants.

The percentage of admissions officers who searched Google and Facebook increased slightly from last year to 27% and 26%, respectively, but the number of searches that turned up something that soured the officers’ attitudes jumped from 12% to 35%.

The offenses include: plagiarism, vulgar blog posts, photos catching underage drinking, “things that made them ‘wonder’” and “illegal activities.”

“The traditional application — the essays, the letters of recommendation — represent the polished version of an applicant, while often what’s found online is a rawer version of that applicant,” Jeff Olson, vice president of data science at Kaplan Test Prep, said in a press release.

“We’re seeing a growing cultural ubiquity in social media use, plus a generation that’s grown up with a very fluid sense of privacy norms,” Olson said. “In the face of all these trends, the rise in discovery of digital dirty laundry is inevitable.”


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