Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

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Our Counselors Answered:

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Nancy MilneOwnerMilne Collegiate Consulting

Facebook

In this day of the internet, you must realize that anything out there on the web is fair game. Some schools have actually gone the route of assigning one staff member to just check out online profiles. The last thing you want the admission committee to see is that photo of you at the underage keg party. It’s a perfect opportunity to verify that you really are the person represented in your application. You stated you play the violin and there is a photo of you in the orchestra. You stated you love classical music, but your page is all about punk rock, hmmmm. Bottom line, put your best face forward and make your parents proud.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

Yes, it is all about how you present yourself online and in person

colleges want to know you in person as much as possible with limited time period. if you are not going to play sports for college or other specific roles that the school may want you to participant, you only have maximum of 10 min to meet the admissions office on paper. we all rather not been treated as numbers to colleges. however, Facebook can not removed just because you are going through admissions process. it will produce facts about what you do on your spare time, who you associated yourself with, and what type of activities that matched your resume if any.

王文君 June ScortinoPresidentIVY Counselors Network

Yes, it is all about how you present yourself online and in person

colleges want to know you in person as much as possible with limited time period. if you are not going to play sports for college or other specific roles that the school may want you to participant, you only have maximum of 10 min to meet the admissions office on paper. we all rather not been treated as numbers to colleges. however, Facebook can not removed just because you are going through admissions process. it will produce facts about what you do on your spare time, who you associated yourself with, and what type of activities that matched your resume if any.

Laura O’Brien GatzionisFounderEducational Advisory Services

Social Media

Yes, it is possible that what you post online in social media can affect your chances of getting accepted and can even cause an offer of acceptance to be withdrawn. Here is the golden rule: never post anything on Facebook or any other space that you would be embarrassed for your grandmother to see or read!

Steven CrispOwner Crisp College Advising

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

As a former admission counselor I can tell you that admission offices simply do not have the time to check every student’s facebook page or twitter feed. However, in cases where something just was not right, I would take a few minutes and check a student out of facebook just to see what they were up to in there spare time. Did a student’s facebook page ever cause me to deny a student? NO. But, that information coupled with some other not so great things might not help. So clean up your facebook page a little. If you would not want your mother to see it, then you do not want an admissions officer seeing it either.

Tam Warner MintonConsultantCollege Adventures

Social Media

Can what you post on Facebook affect your chances of being accepted? Yes. Be sure to take any offensive or illegal activities OFF of your Facebook, this includes photos as well as posts. Why take the risk?

Cynthia FergusonIndependent Educational ConsultantIn2College

Yikes!

Absolutely. You can be sure that many college admissions officers are on Facebook and many look at what you put on Facebook. You should look at any social media as a professional representation of you – especially during the college admissions process. No profanity, lewd or suggestive photographs, or other things that might turn a college or university off.

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

What would grandma say?

Would it offend your grandmother? Then don’t post it. Do admissions officers spend their precious time trolling Facebook? Probably not. But what about an ex-girlfriend or jealous frenemy? What about a really competitive fellow classmate? What about your cousin who likes to play practical jokes? Do they read what you write on Facebook and could they possibly forward that onto the colleges to which you applied? You know the answer to that question better than anyone. Double check your friend list, your privacy settings, and your common sense before posting online. If you’re unsure, ask yourself — “what would grandma say?”

Lisa HatchIndependent College CounselorCollege Primers

In short – yes.

While your Facebook friends may “Like” that you checked in at Dave and Busters the night before your chem final and that your relationship status is “complicated,” the person in charge of your college admissions status may not be impressed. And yet new studies indicate that admissions folks are almost as likely as your friends to be perusing your Facebook page, meaning yes – those pictures of you celebrating your win at last month’s beer pong tournament might have greater consequences than just the wrath of your mother. In a recent Kaplan study of more than 500 schools, 10 percent of admissions teams said they research prospective students through their use of social media. Perhaps even more alarming is that 30 percent of those who admitted trolling sites like Facebook and Twitter for the inside scoop on their applicants said that their impressions were negatively affected by what they found. You may not consider this type of background research ethical behavior on the part of admissions teams. And you may be right. But ethical or not, it’s a perfectly legal practice, and it’s likely to continue to grow in popularity. Keep in mind that you ultimately have the power over what can and cannot be seen on your pages. One step you can take to protect your image is to beef up the privacy controls over who can view what’s on your profiles – but why take a risk when there’s so much at stake? Perform a quick cleanse of any social media accounts you currently hold. Weed out tweets about, shots of, or allusions to any type of behavior that a college advisor might consider unbecoming. Play it safe. In the process, you’ll get a head start on cleaning up your social presence for your ultimate job search!

Wendy Andreen, PhD

You Are on the International News

Students, you continue to believe that you can control your social media exposure with your privacy settings. To a certain extent, you are correct. Another factor is that most college admissions officers don’t have time to ‘stalk’ you on Facebook. However, remember that technically, anything you post is really on the world-wide-web! I have seen the repercussions of students who thought no one was paying attention to their posts and/or photographs! The dean of admissions of a selective university made a call to our building principal about a student’s posts. How did the dean find out? A competing student/family made contact and directed the dean to the site! There was a lot of explaining to do from that student. Don’t, for a minute, think college admissions isn’t sometimes cutthroat. When it comes to college admissions (and getting jobs), not everyone on Facebook is a ‘friend’!

Tyler BurtonPresident Burton College Tours

Your electronic footprint stays forever.

Most admissions officers will tell you that they do not spend time trolling social media to see if you have been up to no good. So does it matter what is on Facebook and if you have been tagged in a photo that you wish had never entered cyberspace? A resounding YES. You are creating a profile of yourself that will never be erased. Your future employers will have you vetted on line. No joke. Where your Facebook matters today is if you are in the running for a scholarship or an honor award. You stand a very good chance of being vetted. There have been scandals where ill meaning peers have alerted admissions offices to disastrous Facebook postings. To sum it up, if you wouldn’t want an admissions officer or your grandmother to see something about you on Facebook then it shouldn’t be there in the first place. Clean up your profile and make sure that you do have a respectable email address.

Ellen [email protected]OwnerEllen Richards Admissions Consulting

Study finds that college students who use Facebook have significantly lower grade-point averages

A new study presented at the annual meeting of American Educational Research Association by the doctoral candidate Aryn Karpinski of The Ohio State University and co-author Adam Duberstein of Ohio Dominican University, finds that college students who use Facebook have significantly lower grade-point averages (GPAs) than students who do not use the popular social networking tool. The study surveyed 219 undergraduate and graduate students and found that GPAs of active Facebook users typically ranged a full grade point lower than those of nonusers on the typical 4.0 GPA scale. Active Facebook users showed an average 3.0 to 3.5 GPA versus 3.5 to 4.0 for their non-networking peers. When the findings were presented to the participating students, 79% of Facebook members did not believe there was any link between their GPA and their networking habits. Karpinski states that she was not surprised by her study’s findings but she does want to clarify that the study does not suggest that Facebook directly causes lower grades, merely that there’s some relationship between the two factors. Karpinski then went on to explain that perhaps the reason that students that were active users of Facebook had lower GPAs was due to their tendency to be easily distracted or prone to procrastinating. The study has been met with extreme reactions – from students participants, outraged that anyone would link Facebook users with poor grades or lack of aptitude, saying that it is simply a networking tool to keep people connected and it is not a way to determine if someone is more or less intelligent because they are a user of the online social networking tool – to professors that agree, and cite specific times in class when they have reprimanded students for being online during class. Although it is the most recent, Karpinski and Duberstein’s study isn’t the first to associate Facebook with diminished mental abilities. In February, Oxford University neuroscientist Susan Greenfield published her findings that social networks like Facebook and Bebo were “infantilizing the brain into the state of small children” by shortening the attention span and providing constant instant gratification. And in UCLA neuroscientist Gary Small’s new book, iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, warns of a decreased ability among devoted followers of social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Bebo to read real-life facial expressions and understand the emotional context of subtle gestures. The younger the user, Small says, the greater the risk, he writes, because “young minds tend to be the most sensitive, as well as the most exposed, to digital technology.” Some experts dismiss all studies of Internet use as flawed, since there is no reasonable way to control for the myriad variables that may affect such research, such as user time inputs and limited participant backgrounds. Facebook has declined to address the specific findings of the new study but issued a statement on Monday, April 13, saying that Facebook isn’t the only diversion around; TV and video games can be just as distracting as online social networks. The company also cited a study conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne that found that personal Internet use at work can help focus workers’ concentration and increase productivity. Facebook and other social network outlets add that it is ultimately the responsiblity of the student to decide how to spend their time, and they are not locked into using Facebook. By most accounts, many students spend a significant amount of time logged onto Facebook, a circumstance that irks educators, who complain of students messaging friends or posting snarky status updates from their laptops instead of paying attention to lectures. Watching her fellow classmates update their statuses during class was what originally sparked Karpinski’s interested in the topic while she was earning her master’s degree in developmental psychology at West Virginia University. While she herself is not a Facebook user, many of her students when she was teacher’s assistant were her subjects.

Benjamin CaldarelliPartnerPrinceton College Consulting, LLC

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Yes. Colleges are looking mature, responsible citizens with high moral character. Keep your facebook page as private as possible to avoid any statements or pictures, by you or anyone else, that may be interpreted otherwise.

Dr. Bruce NeimeyerCEO/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

It all depends…….

The answer to this question is that it depends to which school you are applying. For a number of schools it is all about your academic courses and your scores as to the admissibility of large portion of their applicants. However, if you are applying to a more selective school or an Honors College program or any institution that does a more thorough application review where they dig deeper into their applicants’ materials, the type of information you put on your FB page may influence their perception of you. Whether it makes the difference between your acceptance or not isn’t clear. That also would depend on the sum of the parts of the student’s application to really know if FB would be the tipping point. My sense is that FB posts may put up a “red flag” about a particular student that would lead a school to dig even deeper into the students record but it would not be FB that would sway the decision to a deny as much as it would be a deeper issue uncovered due to the further investigation of the admissions officer tipped off by FB that might cause such an action. A sound piece of advice to many of the students out there would be that if you would not want the information you post on FB to be broadcasted on the nightly news then I would not recommend you putting it up on FB. Some things are best left between you and yourself or you and your intended audience and you can’t always be guaranteed this is the case if you are putting the information in an environment that is not 100% under your control be that FB or any other social networking site.

Jill KaratkewiczCounselorEast Hampton High School

Post With Caution

While admissions officers may not check EVERY applicant’s facebook page, you should operate as though whatever you put online is fair game. Even if you have your page set to private, you should consider what your profile picture says about you. Are you making a crazy face or doing something questionable? What are you wearing? If that one photo is all an admissions officer will see if they search for you on Facebook, what kind of first impression does it make? Post with caution – not only will this be applicable for your college applications, but also down the road when you are applying for a job!

Jill KaratkewiczCounselorEast Hampton High School

Post With Caution

While admissions officers may not check EVERY applicant’s facebook page, you should operate as though whatever you put online is fair game. Even if you have your page set to private, you should consider what your profile picture says about you. Are you making a crazy face or doing something questionable? What are you wearing? If that one photo is all an admissions officer will see if they search for you on Facebook, what kind of first impression does it make? Post with caution – not only will this be applicable for your college applications, but also down the road when you are applying for a job!

Joyce Vining MorganFounder and college counselorEducational Transitions

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Depends on what you post! Don’t post any comments or pictures that you wouldn’t want to see in the newspapers. FB privacy is one thing, but friends can re-post what you post. If it’s even a little scandalous, keep it off the Web – where it will live forever. And don’t let your friends post pictures/comments that you don’t want admissions (among others) to see.

Jeff HaigCo-FounderMaximize Your Education

Yes, negative online presence can impact college admissions success…

Admissions officers can and do review online presence of potential students. Facebook is just one online medium that can be reviewed by admissions officers. It is important that students represent themselves in a responsible manner on and offline, as admissions officers are looking to create a class of students that conduct themselves in an ethical and mature manner.

Katherine CohenFounder & CEOIvyWise & Applywise.com

Facebook can hurt, but also help, when applying to college…

While admissions officers aren’t creating fake Facebook profiles or searching for individual students, they do receive anonymous “tips” regarding inappropriate student conduct online.  Often, schools are obligated to investigate and offers of admission may be revoked.  Use the “grandparent test”—if you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see it, don’t put it online!  This applies to your blog, Facebook profile and photos, Twitter tweets, and LiveJournal posts.  You can use the Internet to express yourself and show admissions committees your passion.  If you’re a photographer or artist, post pictures.  Musicians, start a MySpace page devoted to your music.

Nola LynchIndependent Educational ConsultantNorthwest College Search

Would you put it on a billboard?…

As you transition to adulthood, your online persona (including your email alias) will become potentially more public and definitely more important. A 2008 Kaplan survey of admissions officers found that 10% of them had looked at applicants’ social networking profiles and that at least one school had rejected an applicant on the basis of statements he made online. Unless something bothers them about an application, admissions readers usually won’t search on your name, but employers often do. Yet you are unlikely ever to find out if that party photo got you rejected, so keep your online identity clean.

Patti DemoffCo-FounderCollege Circuit

Admissions officers don’t routinely check, but be careful…

Few college admissions offices have the time, resources or inclination to routinely scour the internet and social media sites for incriminating information on applicants. However, most admissions officers I have spoken to acknowledge that they do occasionally check Facebook or google students if there is something in an applicant’s file that is inconsistent or raises a red flag. Remember, it isn’t appropriate to post anything that could be considered abusive or demeaning to another person. Nor should there be profanity, references to or photos of drugs alcohol or illegal behavior. Always use privacy settings and do not “friend’ admissions officers.

Steve LoflinFounder & CEONSCS

Are Admissions Officers Too Busy to Care About Facebook Profiles? …

Colleges are receiving more applications than ever and it is competitive to get a spot. Knowing that, you should put your energy and effort into making sure you are academically prepared and submitting the strongest application possible.  When it comes to Facebook, be smart about your privacy settings and you can control exactly who has access. But, regardless, be aware of how your Facebook posts may be interpreted by someone who doesn’t know you.  You should also know my friends/colleagues who are admissions officers tell me they are too swamped to be checking college applicant Facebook profiles.  

Vanessa RothFounder & DirectorScholar’s Station

The quick, and probably frustrating, answer is: potentially, but unlikely…

Admissions officers barely have time to review each application, let alone dig around the internet for more dirt to consider. That said, they might Google an applicant if the file raises questions. If a student mentions starting a national club, for example, an admissions officer might search for the student or the club to confirm its existence. This could lead them to a Facebook page. As a general rule, don’t post anything on the internet that you wouldn’t share with your parents, teachers, priest, or the checker at the grocery store. Make your entire account private and remember that if you “like” a college page, or “friend” an admissions rep, they can see your profile.

Jennifer EvansCounseling Department ChairBroadneck High School

The implications of posting on social networking sites…

The short answer is a resounding YES! College admissions officers are extremely tech savvy and they know that this generation of prospective students is using social networking sites like Facebook all the time so they need to be in tune with it as well. Conscientious students should manage their online presence to ensure there is nothing inappropriate or compromising. Anything that is on the internet is in the public domain. Students should not post anything that they wouldn’t want a college, prospective employer, teacher, or parent to see. There is always a way for people to access this information.

Kevin WithamSr. Associate Director of AdmissionsOhio University

Discretion and Caution are important when using online social media…

Most admission offices do not have the staffing resources to constantly check student online social media postings.  However, students should be aware that anything posted can be seen and reported by others to a college and future employer.   Each situation is different and  can result in a variety of consequences, depending on the nature of an inappropriate posting. These consequences can result in denial of admission to college, legal ramifications, school expulsion or suspension and even loss of scholarship.  Students are encouraged to use discretion and caution when using social media with friends, family, school or others.  Many colleges utilize twitter, Facebook and other online forums so they embrace these interactions with students, but think of it as if you sent them a hand written letter or standing in front of them on campus.  You probably want to make a good impression in those settings and therefore should think of the online social media as extension of that experience.

Lynette MathewsDirectorThe College Planning Center

Like most technologies, Facebook can work for or against you…

The majority of college admissions officers do not have the time to include an exploration of Facebook and other social media in their decision criteria.   However, there are situations when colleges may review online activities such as: Applications for prestigious college scholarships, recruited student athletes may receive a review of online activity by the coaching staff, students interested in selective programs such as honors colleges within a university, students that referenced blogs, videos, portfolios or other online projects in their application, and applications for campus jobs including tour guides and resident advisors. Be smart and make sure your online presence represents you well.

Michael GoranDirector & Educational ConsultantIvySelect College Counseling

Facebook postings can adversely impact admissions chances…

Using “The Social Network” can have consequences in the college admissions process! Although admissions officers don’t have time to regularly access applicants’ Facebook walls, a fair percentage of them do look at prospective students’ profiles. Still, students need to realize that if it’s public, it’s possible to see compromising items. If told about something that adversely reflects on your integrity or your behavior, admissions officers may go to Facebook to check it out. If you think it’s inappropriate – whether it’s a photo or a comment – don’t post it! The best advice is to clean things up and keep things private.

Moira O’RiordanCollege CounselorSt. Ignatius High School

Online activity can help if the student is in control of the content…

Never have I heard a story in which Facebook helped a student in the admission process. In most social networking admission tales the applicant’s Facebook page stomps all over what was a careful application. Even if a student controls what he posts, he cannot control what a friend posts. On the other hand, a student’s homepage has, in the case of at least one student, helped him not only gain admission but receive a large scholarship. His website chronicled the launch of an urban scout troop and the series of events that led him to the idea.

Stacey KostellDirector of Undergraduate AdmissionsUniversity of Illinois

While social networking, portray yourself in a responsible manner….

It is possible that comments posted on social media sites, including facebook, could impact your admission decision. Admissions counselors at Illinois are tech savvy and monitor our official presence on social networks daily. More than likely, your engagement on such sites would only be reviewed if the admissions counselors had a reason. For example, we may search your page if another student/parent reported a disturbing post or you wrote something questionable on our admissions/university page. We understand these are social sites, but if any content is posted that could be perceived as threatening or hurtful, we have an obligation to look into it.

Suzan ReznickIndependent Educational ConsultantThe College Connection

Inappropriate information on Facebook is an accident waiting to happen…

Admissions folks neither have the time nor the desire to spend hours checking profiles, but it’s possible for a scorned girlfriend or an extremely competitive classmate to sabotage you. Pictures of your cherished beer can collection or unflattering party photos will do you a disservice. In the college admissions race, view your profile as your grandmother might, and clean up any language and photos she might find offensive. My grandmother used to say “Wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident and have to go to the hospital.”  You don’t want to get caught wearing ripped boxer shorts!

Francine BlockPresidentAmerican College Admissions Consultants

Listen to the voice of Reason…

Listen to what Thomas Reason, then Associate Director of Admissions at U.W. Madison posted a few years ago concerning MySpace.  “Be careful what you put out there in the public eye.  We at Madison will not go looking for it, but if it ends up in our lap, it will be hard to ignore. Exposing oneself or being passed out with one eyebrow shaved off doesn’t make a “real” good impression of one’s character.”  He continued with “I think it is also worth mentioning that a lot of strange and nasty things go on.  Example: Other vindictive students/parents forwarding things on (to colleges) that they’ve found out about others. Yes, it’s nasty out there.”

Gwyeth SmithPresident & CEOCollege Quest Inc.

Facebook can show both the best and worst of you…

Be smart, be vigilant, and be mature as you post on Facebook. It is important to know that many admission counselors are just a few years older than you. All are members of the technology generation which make lives very public. It is a wonderful vehicle for illustrating contributions you’ve made and special accomplishments you’ve enjoyed with organizations. Keep the information current and consider postings that might reflect the kind of involvement the college might expect from you as a member of their community.

Hamilton GreggEducational ConsultantPrivate Practice

Be careful, be wise and be mature…

I do not specifically know of students who have been advantaged or disadvantaged by what is posted on their sites. There are plenty of stories stating that prospective schools and employers do look to see what is posted with negative outcomes. I am sure that with thousands of applicants they look only if alerted and I have heard that some schools do actively search sites for inappropriate behavior, poor language and other alarming information. Remember that colleges and universities are looking for responsible students to “fit” into their campus.

Janet ElfersCollege Counselor

If there’s any question, just don’t post it!…

In my experiences knowing college admission counselors, I can assure you, they’re way too busy to spend time scouring social networking sites.  On the other hand, we also know how rapidly and widely information travels.  It is very possible your behaviors on these sites could become known to your college even if colleges don’t go looking.  So, why take the chance?  If you have ANY hesitation as to the appropriateness of material you have posted, take it down!  What gauge can you use?  Try assuming your college will see your post.  If that will embarrass you, don’t post it.

Jeffrey MakrisDirector of College CounselingHigh School of Economics and Finance in New York City

Many colleges use social media in the admissions process…

A 2008 NACAC survey revealed that 85% of admissions offices use social media to recruit students, and 17% reported that they use social networks to research students.  I recall an incident where an applicant’s blog postings contributed to the revocation of their acceptance.  Several admissions counselors have revealed to me that they or their interns review applicants’ social media content.  This is a step not all colleges have the time to take, but things are moving in this direction. To be safe, use the “grandma rule”…if you wouldn’t want grandma to see it, don’t put it on Facebook.  

Marjorie ShaevitzAdmissions expert, author, speakerwww.adMISSION POSSIBLE.com

Maybe. To Be Safe, Use the “Grandma Test” for Facebook …

Do they or don’t they? No one – except admissions officers themselves – knows for sure whether they peek at applicant Facebook accounts. Given that a NY Times article by Sarah Perez noted that “30% of today’s employers use Facebook to vet potential employees,” I’d say the chances are pretty good that some do. Emory University professor, Brian Croxall, offers the best advice I’ve ever seen at The Chronicle of Higher Education (http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/six-steps-for-checking-your-facebook-privacy/30402) about how to protect your Facebook privacy. Then there’s the tongue-in-cheek, but oh-so-wise suggestion that to be safe, use the “Grandma test:” never put anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want Grandma to view.

Nancy McDuffAssociate Vice President for Admissions & Enrollment ManagementUniversity of Georgia

However unlikely, it’s better to be safe than sorry…

Admissions Officers are curious folks.  Sometimes, something in an applicant’s file will grab a reviewer’s interest and they may want to learn more about the student.  They may search on google or on Facebook to see if they can get more information. Students need to remember that images and statements on the web are not private and are often much more permanent then they realize.  If they would hesitate for their mother to see it or read it, they should probably not put it there for the world, or an Admissions Officer, to see.

Ralph BeckerOwner & DirectorIvy College Prep LLC

Post publicly only material that would make your grandmother smile…

In September 2008, Kaplan surveyed 500 top colleges and discovered 10% of the admissions officers had investigated Facebook sites, discovering, in almost 40% of the cases, questionable content that reflected negatively on the candidate.  That was three years ago.  Facebook reviews are far more prevalent today and many junior admissions officers are savvy, inveterate users, who, if they need to, can find you on the Web.  If you must post something risqué (raucous parties, inflammatory remarks, drug or alcohol use), out of peer pressure…, make sure your privacy settings strictly control access. Otherwise, yes, you are gambling your candidacy.

Wynne CurryCollege AdvisorSeven Hills School

Yes, inappropriate postings can hurt chances for admission…

The short answer to this question is yes. Facebook, for all its social utility and amusement, can also expose you, your life style, and habits in ways you never imagined. Just like an inappropriate email address can cause admissions officers to wonder about whom they’re dealing with (like [email protected] for instance), photos of drunken parties or embarrassingly intimate poses can raise questions as well. Admissions officers are incredibly busy people and while they may not have time to fish around Facebook for incriminating information, students are often surprised by the ways in which their social networking information finds its way to admissions desks. Use good sense and judgment when posting any information.

Anne RichardsonDirector of College Counseling, International & ESL ProgramsKents Hill School

Posting on Facebook is like putting up a billboard…

Yes – what you post on Facebook can really hurt your chances of acceptance at college, finding an internship or a job. Why? Because posting anywhere on the Internet is akin to putting up a billboard on every major highway in the world; it’s not private. If you post inappropriate material or denigrate others online, you are letting the world know that this is who you are. College admissions officers, residential life deans and potential employers are watching and checking. And it’s not just Facebook. YouTube, blogs, Myspace – anything that identifies you is accessible. So, post the positive, eliminate the negative

Deborah ShamesIndependent College Search Consultant & Transfer Admissions Advisorwww.CollegeCoachDeb.com

Don’t expect privacy when posting online, everything can be found…

You should have absolutely no expectation of privacy online.  Your words and pictures should not portray unethical, illegal, or unflattering behavior. Even with the privacy settings you (hopefully) place on your own account, when posting on another wall, you don’t know who might read it, save it or maliciously use it against you.  While I doubt admissions officers have the time to look you up on Facebook, why risk it.   As my mother always says, don’t put anything in writing that you would be embarrassed to have your grandmother read 10 minutes, 10 weeks, or 10 years from now! 

Howard VermanSenior AssociateStrategies For College

Booze, Drugs, and Crime, Oh My!…

While most college admissions people don’t often have time to check social network sites, in cases where there is something in a student’s application that would give them pause, it does happen. I have seen Facebook photos of: obviously inebriated students guzzling hard liquor, students showing off their intricate, home-made bongs, and students posing proudly with stolen street signs. It would be wise for college applicants to go through their on-line sites and remove any photos or references to any risky or illegal activities. Party photos or friends’ comments about sexual exploits do not create a good impression as well.

Gail GrandPresidentThe College Advisor Inc.

Your Facebook Profile could be sending the wrong message…

A “picture may be worth a thousand words” but are these the words you want admissions officers to hear? Admissions officers are busy people, and most will not take the time to search for you on Facebook unless they have specific concerns. Perhaps something on your essay raised a red flag, or a recommender might have included something troubling in his comments. Disciplinary issues noted on the application could send the admissions officer to check you out on Facebook. Be discreet about what you post on public websites. If you’d be uncomfortable having your grandmother see it, it probably doesn’t belong.

Laura MillerDirector of College GuidanceNorth Shore Hebrew Academy High School

Does your Facebook profile pass the College Admissions “smell test”?…

Keep it PG! Delete any uploaded pics (or “tagged” ones) that might show alcohol, illegal substances or sexually suggestive poses. Remove any questionable posts that display a lack of tolerance. Set your Privacy Settings so that only your confirmed “friends” can have access to your profile. And last, relax! Admission officers are too busy reading and holistically evaluating your college applications, not searching for you on Facebook (but don’t go “friend-ing” them either…not appropriate!). In the selective sea of competitive students, why rock the college application boat?

Linda SturmDirector of GuidanceSouth Portland High School

The rise of social media in admissions has benefits and complications…

Colleges work hard to stay abreast of the entire spectrum of technology both for recruitment and the gathering of student information. Research shows that 21% of colleges use Facebook in these ways. Just like any other business, all colleges need to be at the top of their game in providing easy and attractive access to prospective students not just nationally but internationally. As for students, many report finding excellent information by linking to enrolled students. They feel they can get straight forward answers to their questions and receive the type of information they need to make an informed decision – information that might not be provided by the admissions office.

Michele HernandezPresident & FounderHernandezCollegeConsulting.com & ApplicationBootCamp.com

A Racy Facebook profile could ruin your college odds – why risk it?…

Do admissions officers look up every student’s page? No, of course not – how could they with 30,000 applicants. But you can’t control the behavior of others – what if a jealous friend were to send a Facebook link to an admissions office in an attempt to sabotage your application? This was a major scandal this year at Choate and several students were expelled/suspended. Though it’s not the norm for admissions officers to actively search out information on a student, they could, especially if there were any warning signs from recommendation letters or any other school information. Admissions officers want students who are upstanding citizens in every way – a salacious Facebook page would be counter to what they are looking for.

Philip BallingerDirector of Admissions & Assistant VP of EnrollmentUniversity of Washington

Can it?  Sure.  Will it?  Probably not…in most cases…

You should think of anything you post on the web as accessible by anybody – including college and university officials.  Will they access it?  Probably not in most situations, but it depends.  At some institutions – generally private and smaller, but not always – someone may try to confirm whether or not something you share on your application is true or significant.  Facebook could be one place they look.  Think more broadly about ‘admissions’ though…also consider your interests in being ‘accepted’ by particular groups, clubs, sororities/fraternities, etc.

Carolyn BlairCounseling Services Director & College Counselor Clayton High School

Anything that is in the public domain is fair game, just be careful…

As the age of the admissions officers become younger and younger, facebook and other social networks are simply part of their culture.  It used to be that admission offices would have a lot of hoops to get through to even access this information.  Now many grandparents have a facebook account.  While there aren’t many schools actively searching students facebook accounts for incriminating information, when you look at who is working in admission there are often many students.  Some student could be from your school of hometown.  Play this out and it wouldn’t take much for inappropriate behavior to reach the eyes of someone in an admission office.  Best case scenario is to play it safe!

Danny ReynoldsDirector of College CounselingPalmer Trinity School

With thousands of applications to read, most officers are too busy for Facebook…

Although, if you have indicated on your application that you have done something exceptional, like written a novel, invented something spectacular, or won a prestigious national award, the admission officer might Google you to verify the information. The search could direct them to your Facebook page, so be careful. Young alumni interviewers have been known to search the social networks pages of the students they are about to interview. Always remember anything you post on the internet is there forever.

James MontoyaVice President of Higher EducationThe College Board

Don’t take the chance, use good common sense….

One of the important things to keep in mind about selective college admission is that those evaluating applications are real people – often under 30 years old and often Facebook users themselves. Though the evaluation process typically focuses on what is required of applicants – your completed application, transcript, SAT scores, essays, and letters of recommendation – there are no standard professional guidelines that discourage admission officers from viewing an applicant’s Facebook page. So why risk having something posted on your Facebook page that reflects poorly on you? A personal quality that colleges like to see in ALL applicants is good common sense. Use it in all your interactions with public websites.

Andrew BelascoCEOCollege Transitions LLC

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

While the majority of college admissions officers do not rifle through students’ Facebook accounts, this practice has trended upward over the past five years, especially at selective colleges and universities. In a recent Kaplan Test Prep survey, approximately 26 percent of (selective college) admissions officers reported regularly checking the Facebook pages of their applicants. Nearly 35 percent reported discovering something that negatively impacted an applicant’s chances of admission. Important takeaway: never post anything on your Facebook account that you would not freely share with your prospective colleges.

Andrea Van Niekerk

Using poor judgment online can affect a student’s admission

In admitting students to campus communities, admission committees consider objective measures of achievement but also factor in subjective elements like good citizenship and social maturity. Given such holistic evaluation, students send in supportive letters, articles touting successes and links to personal blogs.  Conversely, when confronted with evidence that students behaved badly and were immature enough to broadcast it, colleges can hardly ignore it.  Occasionally rival classmates and meddlesome parents send information anonymously, and sometimes young admission officers spending free time in the same networking environment as applicants, seek it out.  Students should therefore be prudent in evaluating their online presence. 

Stephanie MeadeOwnerThe Collegiate Edge

Would you let your grandmother see your Facebook page?…

College admissions officers are generally way too busy for Facebook but, if they have a question or concern, they may look you up. Since many young, tech-savvy people work in admissions, and because you don’t know who your Facebook friends know, you should never have a comment or photo visible or linkable that does not pass “the grandma test”. That means no pictures, links, or posts (even as a joke) aboutpartying, drugs, sex, guns or anything else that could be misinterpreted bysomeone who does not know you. Keep it clean. An admissions officer (or grandma) may be checking!

Susan SmithEducational ConsultantBedford Educational Consulting

Facebook postings can absolutely hurt your chance of being admitted…

Although many admissions office personnel are not as tech savvy as they might wish to be, the student volunteers and workers in the office are, and often the search for student applicants on Facebook falls to them.  Many candidates are definite – they are accepted or rejected for obvious reasons – but many more fall in that middle range, so that additional information that can be gleaned from viewing a Facebook page can help the committee make a decision.  Inappropriate or compromising content such as party pictures that could be embarrassing should be deleted, going back as far as might be necessary.

Michelle GreenAdmissions ConsultantMy College Admissions Coach

Maybe.

If you don’t think your grandma would approve of what you posted on Facebook, don’t post it! That means if there is anything that is illegal, immoral or just plain a bad idea, just keep it to yourself. I doubt if admissions officers have enough time to actually Google stalk or Facebook stalk you. But…let’s say they do. Would you be embarrassed by what is on your profile? Would something you posted make them stop and take pause and decide not to admit you? It may not be your prospective college that is checking out your profile. It could be someone who is thinking about hiring you, offering you an internship or even dating you! Consider what is appropriate to post. Use your Facebook or social profiling network to highlight your strengths. Remember, posting on FB is forever. Even if you delete your information, or untag yourself, some of that information may linger on other people’s profiles. Please also use your privacy settings. Don’t list things that might also make it easy for someone to steal your identity. Distribute your information wisely! Using privacy settings that are a little more locked down will help you keep things that should be private just for your friends. Also, consider deleting people who you don’t know well or don’t trust. You don’t have to be friends with EVERYONE YOU HAVE EVER MET! Just…don’t be stupid. You are too smart to make a mistake that might haunt you.

Yolanda SpivaExecutive DirectorProject GRAD Atlanta, Inc.

Your Facebook postings may serve as your unintended college interview

While Facebook postings may seem harmless, unflattering student postings on their Facebook pages indeed have the potential for negatively impacting one’s chances of gaining admission into a college or university.  A college-bound student should therefore not engage in Facebook dialogue containing expletives, hate speech, or sexually-suggestive language.  In like fashion, a student should not post photographs of themselves that they would be embarrassed for their parent or someone else whom they respect, to view.  Admissions staff viewing Facebook pages of this type can informally make negative assumptions about your character, your fit for their institution, and ultimately, your admission to their institution.

Amy Foley

Stop worrying about admissions counselors, and worry about parents instead

Most admissions counselors have neither the time nor the inclination to surf Facebook for posts by prospective students.  We don’t want to be “friends” with applicants and we don’t want to know everything they do in their private – albeit public via social media – lives.  Who does?  Parents of would-be college roommates, that’s who.  Once housing assignments are released, many go online to check out students who will leave an indelible mark on their child.  (I still remember some of the things my freshman roommate taught me.) If parents don’t like what they see, they call us and demand a switch. 

Leigh Anne Spraetz

What is posted on Facebook can potentially hurt chances of acceptances

It can also hinder students in keeping acceptances. As travel budgets and resources are cut in college admissions offices, many are enhancing their social media focus to connect with students. Recently, I heard two Admissions Deans discuss how posts cost students; one an acceptance and one a scholarship. One posted about an underage, illegal activity he planned on providing his freshman year; his acceptance was rescinded. The other trashed the college, disappointed that she wasn’t accepted to her first choice school. She was being considered for a substantial scholarship, which was awarded to another student because of her post. Why take the risk?

Joanne Levy-Prewitt

Internet users should know that there are no secrets

It’s hard to believe that anyone who uses the internet or social media, especially a teenager who is preparing to apply to college, could have missed the message that anything (pictures or words) posted on the internet, emailed, texted, or tweeted could be seen, and possibly misinterpreted. Since the high school records of college applicants are essentially under the microscope during the admissions process, it makes sense that other records (i.e., items posted online) might be scrutinized as well. After all, what’s the point of putting your best foot forward for four years while in school, if only to trip and stumble when posting online?

Jon WimbishUpper School DeanHarvard-Westlake School

Think about the persona you display to the public

Sure it can. Derogatory comments about a deferral or photos of behavior that an admissions office might term “risky” could cause a college to question the persona represented in your application. There’s no doubt that admissions officers have better things to do than view Facebook profiles, but there’s no way to assure they won’t be forwarded something from an anonymous source or an alumnus who encounters something disturbing. It’s never happened to one of my students, but every year I hear a story or two about something that an admissions officer had to investigate with regards to an applicant and a social networking site; in one case the student had already been accepted. Is it a common issue for applicants? No. Can it happen? Yes. If colleges are randomly checking the veracity of extracurriculars and activities, it’s not far-fetched to think they might also start randomly looking at Facebook profiles.

Scott HamiltonFounderFuture Stars College Counseling Center

Play it safe and keep it clean or you could derail college dreams

While it is unlikely that a Facebook post is going to be seen by an admissions officer, it could be in the following instances, so do not risk it. An admissions officer looks up your name on the Internet to learn more about an award you won and stumbles onto your Facebook page. Or you are being considered for a prestigious scholarship or special recognition along with your admissions, so to ensure they do not end up looking foolish the college or university does some digging. Finally, you can give ammunition to someone who has a score to settle with you that they anonymously share with admissions. Don’t take the chance.

Cheryl Millington

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

The answer is maybe or probably. A study by Kaplan test prep concluded that of the 500 best US universities, 20% Googled an applicant and 24% said they researched candidates using social media. In 2010, the study found 6% of admissions officers checked applicants’ Facebook pages, and 12% said what they found online negatively affected a student’s admissions chances. In my experience, Googling and looking at someone on Facebook is not routine. Quite frankly, my first reaction after reading the about the study was that these admission officers are obviously not very busy. However, if I had some troubling issues on an application, especially for a large scholarship, I would certainly try to get additional information via the internet on a candidate to confirm the information in the file. Just in case this is more common than we want to admit, I recommend that you clean up your digital image or make sure your privacy settings are high enough to not reveal your offensive photos or comments. Good advice not only for university admission, but for future employment or other ‘high-stake’ situations. What is not surprising is the use of social networking to recruit students; 85% use Facebook and 66% use YouTube to reach prospective students. Therefore, while initially Facebook and YouTube may be used legitimately or appropriately, it may only be a question of time before admission officers ‘stumble’ upon your inappropriate behaviour or photos. On the positive side, why not use your Facebook, Twitter and other social networking to present a positive image of yourself. Think of social media as your expanded, digital resume. For example, this is a great medium to talk about your volunteer opportunities and extra-curricular activities. So either way, it’s time to clean up your online image or use it to more positively reflect your image!

Eric ChancySchool CounselorApex High School – 9-12

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

AB SO LUTE LY!!!! I cannot say emphatically enough how much Facebook, Twitter and just web media in general can positively or adversely affect your college admissions. In fact: Huffington Post, 2/28/2011 – “According to a Kaplan survey of college admissions officers, more than 80 percent of college admissions officers consider social media presence when recruiting students.” The pictures of you and your fiends hanging out on Saturday night? Maybe not such a good idea to post, depending on your activities. Oh, and the items you post in text? I have pulled up former students before via search engine, and the first words I saw were less than endearing. Grandma would have a heart attack to hear her sweet baby “talking” like that! Consider posting your resume, a web page that speaks positively about you, that markets you well. On Facebook, tell the world what a good time you had volunteering with your favorite charity last weekend.

Geoff BroomeAssistant Director of AdmissionsWidener University

Granny would be so dissappointed

Does it pass your grandmother test? Would your family be ashamed of seeing your photos on facebook? How about your language? If your family will still claim you, then you are good to go.

Rebecca JosephExecutive Director & Foundergetmetocollege.org

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

There is no more privacy-is there? If admissions officers have time to look at your pages, they have too much time on their hands. They should recognize that you are a teenager and do things teenagers do There are things you can do to protect your privacy. First of all, until you are admitted, change your FB name. Get rid of your last name or make a cute name. Second. make your page and all pictures and videos private to anyone who doesn’t know you. Third, use a different email address for colleges than the one you used to set up your FB page. Fourth. HIDE YOURSELF. No one who doesn’t know you should ever be able to see you. I’ve never heard of anyone get rejected from a college because of a FB posting.

Kristina DooleyIndependent Educational ConsultantEstrela Consulting

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

The answer is: absolutely. However, the reality is that college admission offices don’t have the time or staff resources to search every prospective student’s Facebook page. That being said, it’s important to remember that if your page isn’t set to be private then everything you post is for public consumption. Use common sense when posting things on your page and shy away from anything that could be viewed negatively. Better safe than sorry.

Trevor CreedenDirector of College and Career CounselingDelaware County Christian School

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Yes, more and more colleges are saying that they use Facebook to get a different perspective of the student. You should always be careful what is put on Facebook because not only you friends are able to see what you post or pictures you put on, but anyone can end up finding out what you put on Facebook. You need to be careful. What you post is public information. There may be privacy filters that you can adjust, but legally those don’t hold weight if someone gets your information.

Trevor CreedenDirector of College and Career CounselingDelaware County Christian School

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Yes, more and more colleges are saying that they use Facebook to get a different perspective of the student. You should always be careful what is put on Facebook because not only you friends are able to see what you post or pictures you put on, but anyone can end up finding out what you put on Facebook. You need to be careful. What you post is public information. There may be privacy filters that you can adjust, but legally those don’t hold weight if someone gets your information.

Jeana RobbinsCounselor

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Although it’s unlikely, it could. Keep your profile private and be careful what you post.

Jeana RobbinsCounselor

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Although it’s unlikely, it could. Keep your profile private and be careful what you post.

Bill PrudenHead of Upper School, College CounselorRavenscroft School

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Yes! Increasingly admissions offices are considering Facebook pages in addition to the formal materials student submit. Such psn offer insightinto who a student truly is. They may simply reinforce all the official materials but they may also reveal additional things that do not enhance a student’s profile. At a time when schools are trying to decide why they should accept one student over multiple other highly qualified applicants, any information that offers insight–good or bad–into a person’s character or personality can play a role and the new social media is becoming an increasingly prominent part of those determinations.

Tana Taylor-JukoEnglish Instructor

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

24% of admissions officers have checked!

Would it offend your grandmother? Then don’t post it. Kaplan Test Prep conducted a survey recently and found that 24% of admissions officers checked an applicant’s Facebook page and about 20% of admissions officers admitted to “Googling” an applicant! What do you think of those odds? Do most admissions officers spend their precious time trolling Facebook? Probably not. But what about an ex-girlfriend or jealous frenemy? What about a really competitive fellow classmate? What about your cousin who likes to play practical jokes? Do they read what you write on Facebook and could they possibly forward that onto the colleges to which you applied? You just never know so take precautions! You know the answer to that question better than anyone. Double check your friend list, your privacy settings, and your common sense before posting online. If you’re unsure, ask yourself — “what would grandma say?”

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

24% of admissions officers have checked!

Kaplan Test Prep conducted a survey recently and found that 24% of admissions officers checked an applicant’s Facebook page and about 20% of admissions officers admitted to “Googling” an applicant! What do you think of those odds? Do most admissions officers spend their precious time trolling Facebook? Probably not. But what about an ex-girlfriend or jealous frenemy? What about a really competitive fellow classmate? What about your cousin who likes to play practical jokes? Do they read what you write on Facebook and could they possibly forward that onto the colleges to which you applied? You just never know so take precautions! You know the answer to that question better than anyone. Double check your friend list, your privacy settings, and your common sense before posting online. If you’re unsure, ask yourself — “what would grandma say?”

Helen H. ChoiOwnerAdmissions Mavens

24% of admissions officers have checked!

Kaplan Test Prep conducted a survey recently and found that 24% of admissions officers checked an applicant’s Facebook page and about 20% of admissions officers admitted to “Googling” an applicant! What do you think of those odds? Do most admissions officers spend their precious time trolling Facebook? Probably not. But what about an ex-girlfriend or jealous frenemy? What about a really competitive fellow classmate? What about your cousin who likes to play practical jokes? Could they possibly forward that onto the colleges to which you applied? You just never know so take precautions! Double check your friend list, your privacy settings, and your common sense before posting online. If you’re unsure about some information or photos that you’ve posted online, ask yourself — “what would grandma say?”

Reena Gold KaminsFounderCollege, Career & Life, LLC.

If you wouldn’t say it in an admission interview, don’t say it on Facebook!

While it’s true that most counselors at most colleges simply don’t have time to research candidates on Facebook, there are some schools at which counselors do review Facebook profiles. Before you change your status or post on someone’s wall, think about whether you would want an admission committee to see it and whether you’d want that to be their first impression of you.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Short answer: If you are acting like an idiot on FB, stop acting like an idiot on FB. Seriously. Detailed answer: It doesn’t have to be something someone finds on FB. If someone Googles you, FB posts and comments can appear without anyone even looking for you in FB. Admissions officers are usually too busy to search for you online; however, if something in your application makes them wonder about you, they may indeed do a search. If they do a search, they are not supposed to use any information they find about you in their decision on your application. But that doesn’t mean they won’t use it. The fact is, anything that you post on a social media site or send in an email is permanent and can be used in any way, shape, or form by anyone who wants to know more about you — admissions officers, employers, the government, the law. If your FB posts make you look like a jerk, knock it off. It may very well come back to haunt you in some way, but you probably won’t ever know that someone saw it and made a determination about you based on what they discovered. In addition,the information you post can be misconstrued by someone who has no idea the context for your postings. Friends on FB are not necessarily your friends, especially those who might use against you the information they find there. If you leave your laptop on when you’re not in your room and your friends or siblings post to your page pretending to be you, it doesn’t matter if you protest that it’s not you (I know someone this happened to who was applying to grad schools.) The fact is that you didn’t protect yourself and your future by guarding your identity, including your personal character and your political/social ideologies. That alone speaks volumes about your maturity and judgement, as well as your ability to be a positive addition to a community of any kind. So, here’s a good rule of thumb: If you don’t want what you post on FB to show you in a negative light to future employers or college admissions departments, then only post comments, status updates, and photos that you would allow your grandparents to see.

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

Duh, yeah.

Short answer: If you are acting like an idiot on FB, stop acting like an idiot on FB. Detailed answer: Anything that you post on a social media site or send in an email can be used in any way, shape, or form by anyone who wants to know more about you — admissions officers, employers, the government, the law. If you look like a jerk, knock it off. It may very well come back to haunt you in some way, but you probably won’t ever know that someone saw it and made a determination about you based on what they discovered. If you leave your laptop on when you’re not in your room, and your friends or siblings post to your page pretending to be you, it doesn’t matter if you protest that it’s not you. The fact is that you didn’t protect yourself and your future by guarding your identity, including your personal character and your political/social ideologies. That alone speaks volumes about your maturity and your ability to be a positive addition to a community of any kind.

Francine SchwartzFounder/ PresidentPathfinder Counseling LLC

Facebook – The Highway of Information

The best analogy I found regarding posting on Facebook was : if you would be comfortable putting that information on a billboard on the highway – then post it on Facebook Facebook is a wonderful way to share information and connect socially. Just be aware that college admissions offices and employers too for that matter, are increasingly savvy about Facebook. They can and do check your profiles and posts. Be careful. You may also wish to have a professional sounding email address for correspondence. Francine Schwartz M.A. , LPC, NCC Founder and President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

Erica WhiteCollege & Career CounselorMiddletown High School

Be careful!

Yes! Please keep your Facebook profiles set to private. Some admission offices have facebook accounts where they link in with prospective students. Colleges do not want to see photos or comments that are inappropriate or illegal, it makes them question if you will be a “problem” once you are on campus. Best rule of thumb…if you think it might hinder your chances of getting accepted, do not post it!

Patricia KrahnkePresident/PartnerGlobal College Search Associates, LLC

What Would Your Grandma Think?

Short answer: If you are acting like an idiot on FB, stop acting like an idiot on FB. Seriously. Detailed answer: It doesn’t have to be something someone finds on FB. If someone Googles you, FB posts and comments can appear without anyone even looking for you in FB. Admissions officers are usually too busy to search for you online; however, if something in your application makes them wonder about you, they may indeed do a search. If they do a search, they are not supposed to use any information they find about you in their decision on your application. But that doesn’t mean they won’t use it. The fact is, anything that you post on a social media site or send in an email is permanent and can be used in any way, shape, or form by anyone who wants to know more about you — admissions officers, employers, the government, the law. If your FB posts make you look like a jerk, knock it off. It may very well come back to haunt you in some way, but you probably won’t ever know that someone saw it and made a determination about you based on what they discovered. In addition,the information you post can be misconstrued by someone who has no idea the context for your postings. Friends on FB are not necessarily your friends, especially those who might use against you the information they find there. If you leave your laptop on when you’re not in your room and your friends or siblings post to your page pretending to be you, it doesn’t matter if you protest that it’s not you (I know someone this happened to who was applying to grad schools.) The fact is that you didn’t protect yourself and your future by guarding your identity, including your personal character and your political/social ideologies. That alone speaks volumes about your maturity and judgement, as well as your ability to be a positive addition to a community of any kind. So, here’s a good rule of thumb: If you don’t want what you post on FB to show you in a negative light to future employers or college admissions departments, then only post comments, status updates, and photos that you would allow your grandparents to see.

Karen Ekman-BaurDirector of College CounselingLeysin American School

Can Postings on Facebook Affect Chances of Getting Accepted?

Although a lot of people, both young and old, don’t seem to “get it”, the fact is that Facebook postings are, to a large degree, public property. How do you want to be perceived? Although every single admissions officer is not going to have the time or inclination to check a student’s Facebook page, be aware that there is every possibility that admissions personnel might want to know more about an applicant based on information included on his/her application or in the essays which the student has submitted and could well choose to view the student’s Facebook entries. Colleges/universities want to admit students who will reflect well on their institutions, both while the students are at their schools and after they graduate. If what you are posting or are permitting other people to post about you on Facebook shows lack of control and poor judgement, it is quite likely that those postings could affect your chances of acceptance. No matter how successfully you have performed in high school, no matter how well you’ve done on standardized testing, no matter how outstanding you are as an athlete, musician, etc., there will always be other applicants who have equally outstanding qualities, but who have used more common sense with regard to Facebook entries. Those applicants will have the advantage. Again, how do you want to be perceived?

Brittany MaschalFounder/DirectorB. Maschal Educational Consulting

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Yes, yes and yes! Make sure all of your social media account settings (Instagram, Facebook etc.) are set to private. Do not post anything that you wouldn’t be OK with your parents, grandparents or teachers seeing/reading.

Carita Del ValleFounderAcademic Decisions

Not really

Admissions officers are really not spending their valuable time on potential students Facebook pages to determine what is happening with incoming freshman. That being said, if an admissions officer is so inclined to “verify” what they see in a particular application then yes, be prepared for a passing look from college personnel. And of course, do not forget that if someone is tipped off by and outside source to check on a particular applicant that has been known to happen.

Michelle AronoffGuidance Counselor

It is possible.

Although I have never had a college admission representative say they definitively check the Facebook accounts of their applicants, you have to be aware they do have the opportunity to check if they choose. You should make sure your account settings are set to private and that your pictures are appropriate. This goes far beyond just college admissions, it is also a good idea to protect your own safety and privacy.

Sarah ContomichalosManagerEducational Advisory Services, LLC

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Students need to be aware that some colleges and potential employers look at a student’s FB page. If the posts are responsible there is nothing to worry about but if not …

Todd WeaverSenior AdvisorStrategies for College, Inc.

Facebook and admissions

There are a number of articles written each year about how “scared” students should be of anything they post on Facebook, and how it might affect their admission chances at college. I’m not a believer of this (although, I’m not advocating posting “anything” you want!) since every admissions officer I speak with tells me that they have no time to go on the internet to do a background check on a potential student. When you realize that an admissions officer has between 5-7 minutes to read your application in full, before deciding to admit, deny, or defer, you can see that there is no time to track down Facebook activity. When you get to the real world of “work” however, that is a different story! Bottom line, be smart about what you say and do online. It may not haunt you now, but it certainly could later!

Reecy ArestyCollege Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & AuthorPayless For College, Inc.

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Yes, so don’t!

Tira HarpazFounderCollegeBound Advice

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Studies have shown there are college admissions officers who will look at a student’s Facebook posts. In general, you should be very careful about what you post on Facebook. Pictures that show a student doing something illegal or posts showing bias or negative speech should be avoided (and not just because college admissions officers can look–law enforcement personnel can also become involved).

Lin Johnson III

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

The simple answer is possibly. In our opinion, this is enough to be careful about what you post on Facebook and other social network sites. In a recent survey of admission officers at 359 colleges and universities, Kaplan found that 24% of admission officers reported using Facebook or other social network sites to research an applicant in 2011. About 20% used Google to find information about an applicant. Importantly, of those who checked the social network, approximately 12% indicated that posts with such things as vulgar language in a status update or alcohol consumption in photos negatively impacted a prospective student’s admissions chances. Our advice is to eliminate any items on social network sites that do not reflect the best you.

Mark GathercoleUniversity AdvisorIndependent University Advising

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Yes, Yes, and Yes! Don’t put anything on your Facebook page that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see or read!

Lin Johnson III

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

The simple answer is possibly. In our opinion, this is enough to be careful about what you post on Facebook and other social network sites. In a recent survey of admission officers at 359 colleges and universities, Kaplan found that 24% of admission officers reported using Facebook or other social network sites to research an applicant in 2011. About 20% used Google to find information about an applicant. Importantly, of those who checked the social network, approximately 12% indicated that posts with such things as vulgar language in a status update or alcohol consumption in photos negatively impacted a prospective student’s admissions chances. Our advice is to eliminate any items on social network sites that do not reflect the best you.

Lin Johnson III

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

The simple answer is possibly. In our opinion, this is enough to be careful about what you post on Facebook and other social network sites. In a recent survey of admission officers at 359 colleges and universities, Kaplan found that 24% of admission officers reported using Facebook or other social network sites to research an applicant in 2011. About 20% used Google to find information about an applicant. Importantly, of those who checked the social network, approximately 12% indicated that posts with such things as vulgar language in a status update or alcohol consumption in photos negatively impacted a prospective student’s admissions chances. Our advice is to eliminate any items on social network sites that do not reflect the best you.

Eric DoblerPresidentDobler College Consulting

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

This has been a hot topic as of late in the college admissions world. Recent studies have shown that there has been an increase in the number of admissions counselors who are using social media applications like Facebook to research an applicant. As far as whether or not this will affect your chances of being admitted, I would turn the question around and ask you, “do you want it to affect your chances of getting accepted?” After going through all the research, the visits, putting in the time and effort at school, taking the SAT or ACT, do you really want to risk your admission because of a photograph or joke in bad taste? Chances are, it will not happen to you, but what if it did? If there are aspects of your online profile that you think might be questionable, perhaps its time to rethink why your profile appears the way it does. You can also adjust your privacy settings so that your information, profile and pictures are not available to the general public. My best advice in this situation is to play it safe. Clean up your online profile and make sure that it reflects who you are as a person – this will be a great first step in what will be ongoing online profile maintenance as you work through college and prepare to enter you career!

Michelle BrownLicensed Counselor/Social Empowerment EducatorOaklandUniv./BreatheAgainCounseling

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Unfortunately technology has spurred a monster in us (society). Your reputation is something that you want to develop over the course of your academic career. Having negative things posted on Facebook can affect your chances of being accepted (if found out). For example: Let’s say you hate your parents, and every adult you have encountered. Someone from the interview process was curious about your behavior during the interview process and decided to look you up. They see nothing but terrible negativity toward the people in your family etc. “How do you think they will respond?” What if an employer were to somehow get a hold of your Facebook page with the same remarks that you posted? You have blown your changes of getting into any reputable college and finding a good job all because you allowed your feelings to get the best of you. Let your reputation shine. Be positive in ALL your verbal/written communication and all will be well.

Andrew Hill

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Yes, it is becoming a common practice for student’s facebook profiles to be looked up by admissions offices. Some offices have interns use their networks to find students who would be inaccessible otherwise. So be careful what you post to facebook, it is there forever and any well connected person or organization can find it. With this said, it isn’t always a negative to have your facebook profile seen. College Admissions officers will go to look at these profiles hoping to find more information to tip the scales in your favor. So if you have a great facebook profile it may be able to increase your chance of being accepted. In short, they do look, so be smart on facebook.

Lora LewisEducational ConsultantLora Lewis Consulting

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Yes. As the use of social media grows, more and more colleges are viewing applicants’ Facebook pages as additional avenues by which to learn about potential candidates. While it may amuse you and your friends to post questionable, controversial or highly personal information on Facebook, it can also send colleges the wrong messages. Refrain from posting anything in the public areas of Facebook (or anywhere) that you wouldn’t want your grandma/priest/boss to see. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Pamela Hampton-GarlandOwnerScholar Bound

Can what I post on Facebook affect my chances of getting accepted?

Actually, just post nothing of relevance on FB, it can all speak volumes without your knowledge.

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