Attention, Students: Colleges Are Snooping On Facebook More Than Ever Before

Eye Looking Through A KeyholeAccording to a recent survey from Kaplan, 40 percent of college admissions officers say they visit the Facebook profiles of applicants to learn more about them. This marks a record high since Kaplan started tracking that information in 2008, when only 10 percent of admissions officers said they snooped on social media.

Thankfully for would-be college students, 89 percent of officers said they “rarely” visited applicants’ social media profiles. However, 37 percent of those who looked said they found information that both positively and negatively impacted the chances of an applicant’s admission. As for what the officers look for, those surveyed mentioned an interest in talents, verification of awards, investigating past trouble and even digging for inappropriate behavior.

“The growth of social media hasn’t made college admissions a whole new ballgame, but it’s definitely impacted the rules,” said Kaplan executive director of research Yariv Alpher. “What you post online can and may be used in your favor or against you, so it’s important to think about what you share. When in doubt, the best strategy may be to keep it to yourself.”

It may not be a part of high school curriculum, but this lesson in social media privacy is still valuable—and hopefully one young people learn sooner rather than later.