Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Facebook

On my wall, I posted an article from the Wall Street Journal called "College Students, Beware: Your Facebook Page is Showing." That article was written in 2008, and it makes very clear that admissions officers then surveyed looked at Facebook when sorting through candidates. One would suspect that the number is even higher these days. So applicants, please beware. Use Facebook wisely and post your successes - not your mischief.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Facebook Profiles

If there is something in the application that indicates a closer read is needed, Facebook may be consulted. Some offices actually appoint a staff member to routinely check applicant's profiles on the internet. Facebook can quickly validate an impression or clarify a discrepancy in an application. In the age of the internet, it is all fair game.

Cheryl Millington

Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

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!

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University

Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

I can't answer this for every college, but for me, NO. I don't have time. Most colleges will say the same thing. I will not base an admissions decision on whether or not you have a lot of facebook friends, or how awesome your facebook page or photos are.

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

Sometimes they do and that fact is certainly something that prospective applicants should be aware of. Student can view a school’s Facebook page and get better insight into life at the school, but the school can do the same and that approach can give the school better insight—for good or ill—into the life of the prospective student. This generation has been cautioned about the hazards and the ramification of the on-line profile that they may, however unintentionally, create, and those warnings are certainly applicable to the college admission process.

Eric Beers, Ph.D.
College and Career Counselor Air Academy High School

Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

The last poll I saw was that 30 percent of admission officers say they look at Facebook and other social media profiles and pages. That is a pretty large number, and I think it will continue to grow.

Zahir Robb
College Counselor The Right Fit College

Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

Recent surveys have shown that many admissions officers review Facebook profiles (some have that number as high as 80%). You can protect yourself by setting your privacy settings or by simply having an appropraite Facebook page. Be smart about what you put online, as employers will also be searching your web profile in coming years.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

Some do, so if there's sexually explicit or drug related stuff, you could be SOL (Surely Out of Luck)!

Lora Lewis
Educational Consultant Lora Lewis Consulting

Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

They might. The media is full of stories these days about students whose less-than-impressive antics have been revealed to colleges through social media. You can never be sure if a college will check your Facebook profile, so why risk it? Keep your public photos and comments PG-13.

Kristina Dooley
Independent Educational Consultant Estrela Consulting

Do college admissions officers look at applicants' Facebook profiles?

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.