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Social Networking and Admissions: Who is Checking?

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I am not a big fan of social networking like facebook and twitter. I am sure that this is mostly due to my age and the other part is that I am not fond of  the amount of over-sharing we see.  Yes, I finally got a facebook account but that was the only way to see pictures of the babies of my nieces and nephews. I post a few things but I tend to keep most of my personal and political views private. I am also keenly aware of the digital paper trail that may stay on a server forever.

Many teens, on the other hand, give little thought to self censoring. I have, on more than one occasion, talked about the necessity of keeping one’s fb page free of damning photos and information. I tell my students that it should pass the “grandmother test”.  If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read it, take it down. See blog posts here and here and my advice here.

Having just read these statistics from Kaplan Test Prep, I feel like shouting from the rooftops (or in today’s world –taking to twitter) for everyone to take this seriously: What you write doesn’t always stay private and you would be very surprised to know who is searching.

According to a study done by Kaplan, 41% of Law Schools, 27% of Business Schools and 20% of colleges have googled an applicant. 37% of Law Schools, 24% of Business Schools and 22% of Colleges have looked up an applicant on Facebook.

And, now for the scariest statistic: In answer to the question “Have you ever found something that negatively impacted an applicant” the answers were: 32% of Law Schools, 14% of Business Schools and 12% of colleges said “Yes”.

This is sobering news. What should students do? Click here for Kaplan’s suggestions on how to keep your information private.

And, if all of this isn’t shocking enough, read this article about a job applicant whose interviewer looked at his fb page, found it was not public and asked for his log-in information. The applicant refused and left. I agree that this is completely inappropriate. After you have taken the steps to keep your private life private, no one should have the right to demand you make it available.

This is a brave new world and we all need to know that almost everything we say or do online can be viewed by people we hadn’t figured on.

Janet Rosier

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