Yes, Colleges are Watching

Students chat in 2012 on campus of Marquette University in Wisconsin (CNS photo/courtesy Marquette University) (Sept. 6, 2013) See WASHINGTON LETTER Sept. 6, 2013.

If you're a student, watch what you write. Colleges care about what you post. Your social media footprint cements itself, and may jeopardize your admissions prospects.  

In "They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets," Natasha Singer of the New York Times says that "online scrutiny of college hopefuls is growing."

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Of 381 college admissions officers who answered a Kaplan telephone questionnaire this year, 31 percent 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 percent of the admissions officers said they had discovered information online that had negatively affected an applicant's prospects.

The new monitoring has led to a new role for college counselors: "digital identity scrubbing." At one 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 guiding department chairman. That changed."

Probably a good idea.  

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