College Admissions: Helped or Hurt by Search Engines

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No longer do only job applicants need to be wary of what their online presence is saying about them. There has recently been an increase in the number of college admissions officers who are now looking at high school senior’s social media networks to help make their decision easier.

According to a New York Times article, 31% of 381 (5% increase from last year) college admissions officers said they had visited an applicant’s Facebook or other personal social media page to learn more about them.

What’s even more alarming is that, according the NY Times article, “30 percent of the admissions officers said they had discovered information online that had negatively affected an applicant’s prospects.”

This practice had become very controversial due to disregard for privacy rights. Also, teenagers are not always accountable for their actions and therefore some believe that they should not be judged by what they put up online for their friends to see.

However, this new deciding factor can actually be helpful to prospective students. Many students can benefit from admissions officers finding portfolios, blogs, videos, publications or awards online when they search a students name. Some students even provide this information themselves. Having this personal aspect to an application can actually make a student stand out among the words and stats on a application.

What we can all learn from the new trend of college admissions officers using their Google search bar to aid their decision making process is to be cautious when it comes to posting online. Think before posting anything or leaving tagged photos and comments online no matter your age. You may think an inappropriate post will be funny or cool to your friends but it may hurt you in the future, even if your not a teenager.

We can also learn that putting your work and awards or publications online and then sharing them with friends and family could potentially reach employers. Don’t be afraid to show employers yourself what you have done or achieved. This will give protective students and employees alike a leg up on the competition.

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