College admissions screen social media accounts

11:46 AM, Feb 4, 2014   |    comments
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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Applying for college is stressful enough-Besides the application and well-written essays as your ticket in, eager high school students these days have another hurdle. The test of social media. The average high school senior was born in 1995 or 1996 proving these students were raised being internet savvy and having everything a click away. This includes social media. 

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow us to instantly upload pictures, thoughts, and news to our friends and sometimes others.  But colleges are catching on and some taking the time to browse a potential student's Facebook to see if they are the same person they claim to be on paper.

A study by Kaplan Test Prep found in 2013, 29% of college admissions officers admitted to using Google to check an applicant. The same survey found 31% checked a perspective student's social media accounts like Facebook. 

Senior Maryam Kashkooli of John Bapst said, "It's stressful to think that they can judge you by what you post online because it's like now you have to be wary of what you share with your friends too and it might be public." 

High school senior, Kelly Henry, is anxiously awaiting a response from her top pick. A stressful time, but she's one of the few who chose not to take part in social media. 

Henry said, "It's nice not to have to worry about that to an extent as everyone else  with all these things, but I obviously still worry about it because when you have friends who are connected to all these things you end up in them too." 

The study suggests having a student Google themselves. If they can find something so can a college admissions officer. 

John Bapst school counselor Nick Umphrey said, "It's tough because I think in a way, making mistakes is part of growing up but if it's being documented and you know used irresponsible through social media than that's a tough thing to battle." 

Especially when it is a mistake which is quickly corrected.  

"I just think it is a shame to have come so far and worked so hard to be looked at again and be thought of differently because of what you look like online and I just think that is shame for people who have worked so hard to achieve great things and want to go onto college and want to go on to do well," said Henry. 

This practice seems to be paying off, 30% of admissions officers who took the survey stated they found something that negatively impacted an applicant.  Some categories used in the survey which have negative impacts were vulgarities in blogs, alcohol consumption in photos, things that made them 'wonder,' and 'illegal activities. 

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