Colleges Watching Applicants' Online Trails

Tim Goral's picture

The average college-bound student knows only too much about the tests required for admission, the SAT or ACT or LSAT.

But not everyone remembers to take the “Grandma test.”

If a kid has stuff on Facebook or Twitter that he or she wouldn’t want Nana to see, then take it down — or better yet, don’t put it up.

Because college admission officials may be reading those postings about sexual shenanigans, hooliganism or whatever might shock the old lady.

“What you and your friends might think is cool, a college admissions officer or a job may see differently,” warned Kathy Hardee, a local mother of teen girls. “Once it is out there it can’t be erased.”

Colleges, particularly the private and hard to get into, are more and more tracing applicants’ digital trails, when determining who might not be a good fit.

So, high school seniors, keep the clothes on and the bong out of the cellphone snap.

“Colleges do reserve the right to investigate social media sites and the student shouldn’t put things on their page or tweet something that is not mature or that they would be embarrassed if others saw it,” said Paul Marthers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

This year Kaplan Test Prep’s survey of the country’s top 500 colleges and universities showed that at least 41 percent of law school admission officers have Googled an applicant to find out more about them than what was on their application or in their essay.


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