U. admissions ignores social media posts for applicants


Kaplan Test Prep’s 2013 survey of college admissions officers shows that 29 percent of officers have Google searched applicants’ names and 31 percent have visited an applicant’s Facebook or other social networking page, according to their report.

This percentage is its highest since Kaplan started tracking the issue in 2008, when a reported 10 percent of officers checked applicant’s Facebook page, according to the report. For the 2013 survey, Kaplan polled 381 admissions officers from the nation’s top national, regional and liberal arts colleges and universities.

Amber Hopkins-Jenkins, public relations specialist for Rutgers, said in an email correspondence that Rutgers does not take applicants’ social media presence into consideration.

“Rutgers University does not research applicants’ social media presence,” she said. “Our admissions counselors focus their review on applicants’ academic credentials, extracurricular activities, community service, employment, military experience and other achievements.”

According to the Rutgers Undergraduate Admissions’ website, the University also considers other qualitative factors such as an applicant’s personal essay, honors and awards, employment, family obligations, special talents and socioeconomic status.

The University primarily focuses on an applicant’s high school performance, cumulative rank, weighted grade-point average, grade trends, completion of required entrance subjects, strength of academic program and SAT and/or ACT scores, according to the website. An English Proficiency Examination is weighed when applicable, and Mason Gross School of the Arts considers a formal talent assessment.

As information sharing increases in popularity, technology has broken down privacy barriers, according to an email statement from Christine Brown, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of K-12 and college prep programs, sent by Russell Schaffer, their senior communications manager. Often, an applicant’s online presence reveals a raw version of their character.

“Students need to recognize that anything and everything they post online can be fair game — fairly or unfairly,” Brown said. “What admissions officers find out about applicants can also conceivably help their chances of getting in too. For instance, if they discover that this particular student is a talented musician or artist.”

Nj.com reported on the results of this study in an Oct. 31 article and found that most New Jersey colleges were reluctant to discuss this topic. David Muha, a spokesperson from The College of New Jersey, said the school does not check online profiles.

Representatives from Seton Hall University and Montclair State University said admissions officers do not check online profiles regularly, according to the article.

“Quite honestly, we’re very busy. … If something ever came to our attention, it might give us pause. It would have to be something very, very severe,” said Alyssa McCloud, vice president for enrollment management at Seton Hall.


By Alex Meier

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