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Monday, November 11, 2013

NY Times: 30% of Colleges Downgrade Applicants Based on What They Find on Social Media

New York Times:  They Loved Your GPA. Then They Saw Your Tweets:

Facebook

As certain high school seniors work meticulously this month to finish their early applications to colleges, some may not realize that comments they casually make online could negatively affect their prospects. In fact, new research from Kaplan Test Prep, the service owned by the Washington Post Company, suggests that online scrutiny of college hopefuls is growing [Kaplan Test Prep Survey: More College Admissions Officers Checking Applicants’ Digital Trails, But Most Students Unconcerned].

Of 381 college admissions officers who answered a Kaplan telephone questionnaire this year, 31% said they had visited an applicant’s Facebook or other personal social media page to learn more about them — a five-percentage-point increase from last year. More crucially for those trying to get into college, 30% of the admissions officers said they had discovered information online that had negatively affected an applicant’s prospects. ...

In an effort to help high school students avoid self-sabotage online, guidance counselors are tutoring them in scrubbing their digital identities. At Brookline High School in Massachusetts, juniors are taught to delete alcohol-related posts or photographs and to create socially acceptable email addresses. One junior’s original email address was “bleedingjesus,” said Lenny Libenzon, the school’s guidance department chairman. That changed. “They imagine admissions officers are old professors,” he said. “But we tell them a lot of admissions officers are very young and technology-savvy.” Likewise, high school students seem to be growing more shrewd, changing their searchable names on Facebook or untagging themselves in pictures to obscure their digital footprints during the college admission process.

Update:  Check out this great PowerPoint presentation from Jonathan Ezor (Pace), Law Students Tweeting Badly.  Jonathan updates his Law Students Tweeting Badly collection on Law School Tech Talk; today's update is here.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2013/11/ny-times--2.html

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