Do colleges look at prospective students’ social media? – Chicago Tribune

todaySeptember 18, 2022

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Do schools and universities have a look at potential college students’ social media websites to assist vet their functions? I imagine some colleges do regardless of what they are saying publicly.

So once I learn a thesis paper on this challenge from a Northwest Indiana native, it instantly caught my consideration.

“Because the mum or dad of a highschool pupil, I used to be interested in what universities have been viewing and the way they have been weighing no matter they discovered,” mentioned Christine Badowski Koenig, a Crown Level Excessive College graduate who now lives in California. (Full disclosure: Koenig can be a former Chicago Tribune worker.)

Koenig, who acquired her grasp’s diploma from North Central School in Naperville, Sick., performed analysis on the topic, surveying 144 schools and universities inside 150 miles of Chicago, together with all Massive Ten universities. Of these, 43 colleges replied.

From her survey, 67 % of the faculties admitted to Googling a potential pupil, and 86 % admitted to researching college students’ social media websites. Why? To guard their college, its repute, and to keep away from potential unhealthy apples from spoiling their model, amongst different causes.

“For probably the most half, universities should not have written insurance policies, and lots of admissions officers make the choice to examine an applicant primarily based on intestine intuition or random searches, Koenig mentioned. “My analysis revealed that whereas sure content material wouldn’t be influential at one college, the very same content material would remove (a) candidate at one other.”

I do not know what number of potential school college students take into account this chance throughout their software course of, however I am guessing it is not very many. From the social media posts, feedback and photographs I see from college-bound college students, it is apparent they by no means take into account that their future college could also be peeking at their social media visitors.

A social media scholar named danah boyd (who requested her title be styled lowercase), learn Koenig’s thesis and located her work fascinating, as do I. Koenig’s thesis pattern is slender, which is acceptable for a grasp’s diploma thesis, but it surely’s sufficient to warrant additional analysis, mentioned boyd, founding father of Knowledge & Society Analysis Institute in New York Metropolis.

On this space, I requested just a few universities in the event that they have a look at potential college students’ social media websites for software choices. All of them replied no, in no unsure phrases.

“The Workplace of Admissions at Saint Joseph’s School does NOT examine social media accounts earlier than, throughout, nor after the admission software analysis course of,” Michael Ramian, director of admissions at Saint Joseph’s School in Rensselaer replied through electronic mail.

Nicole Niemi, spokeswoman for Valparaiso College, mentioned not one of the college’s departments conducts such screenings, together with its regulation college, graduate college and undergrad workplace.

Candidates are evaluated primarily based on software supplies solely, corresponding to an software, college transcripts, check scores, essays and letters of advice, she mentioned.

Purdue College Calumet additionally doesn’t have a coverage or follow of reviewing social media websites throughout the admission course of, in keeping with PUC spokesman Wes Lukoshus.

“Neither is the evaluate of social media websites a part of our evaluate course of for awarding scholarships,” he added.

Koenig mentioned college students’ written textual content, photographs and video posts maintain about the identical weight with reference to being “offensive” on social media websites. However who’s to determine what’s offensive? The scholars? Hardly. Their typically clueless mother and father? Uncertain.

“Ask a mum or dad of an adolescent whether or not their little one has ever posted one thing ‘unhealthy’ on social media and the response is most absolutely an eye fixed roll adopted by an extended story in regards to the incident,” Koenig writes in an essay on this matter. “Whereas these impulsive and generally offensive posts will be troublesome within the brief time period, the content material youngsters put up on on-line could affect their lives in the long run as properly.”

Most college students know this. Few of them do something about it. Or totally perceive what they’re sending out into the world about themselves.

It is one thing boyd calls “context collapse” in her ebook, “It is Difficult: The Social Lives of Networked Teenagers.” In brief, the adage, “You possibly can’t choose a ebook by its cowl,” has a brand new twenty first century spin, “You possibly can’t choose an individual by their on-line profile.”

But some schools doubtless do. Probably the one the place your son or daughter is making use of?

“Whereas colleges checklist obligatory necessities on the admission pages of their web sites, corresponding to ACT/SAT scores, essays and suggestions, they don’t point out social media,” she mentioned.

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Koenig cites a 2013 examine by Kaplan Take a look at Prep that discovered 29 % of school admissions officers admitted to utilizing Google to examine an applicant, and 31 % checked social media accounts. There is also a report performed by the Nationwide Affiliation for School Admission Counseling exhibiting, “26 % of faculties use net searches to scrutinize candidates for particular applications or scholarships.”

Koenig mentioned schools ship advertising and marketing supplies to college students and to highschool counseling places of work. These supplies typically encourage college students to attach on-line with the varsity, corresponding to these harmless taglines: “Let’s be social” or “Turn out to be a fan.”

“As soon as a pupil ‘pals’ the varsity, privateness settings are moot and colleges can view something, every little thing, the coed has ever placed on their Fb web page, together with private posts and the checklist of different universities they’ve friended,” Koenig mentioned.

In her thesis paper, she writes, “Sadly, advising teenagers to scrub up their Fb pages or delete their Instagram or Twitter accounts earlier than making use of for college does not appear applicable recommendation as a result of within the social media age, absence additionally turns into questionable.”

So what’s a pupil to do?

Preserve this in thoughts: Social media posts, feedback, photographs and video will turn out to be a part of the “public sphere,” because it’s known as, the place all such choices can be documented, shared and, sure, judged. Not solely by their pals and enemies, however presumably by their dream school, too. As the brand new adage goes, “The Web is endlessly.”

It is a lesson they should study sooner, not later.

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todaySeptember 18, 2022

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