To high school seniors: scrub those drunken photos from your Facebook albums and change your MySpace status from "stoned" to "productive." One in ten college admissions officers have admitted to trolling profiles on social-networking sites to evaluate applicants.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, collge admissions officers are turning to the "wild, wild west" online in order to vet applicants. Education company Kaplan released the findings from a survey of 500 top colleges, to which 320 admissions officers responded.
Not all of them came away with a positive impression of the prospective scholars. Over a third of admissions officers indicated that what they found online "negatively affected" their impression of an applicant. Most colleges do not have a policy on whether its appropriate to snoop on social-networking sites.
Universities are eager to "protect their brands," said Nora Ganim, a marketer at the University of Masschusetts at Dartmouth. Some students, too, feel the pressure to market themselves. One 17-year-old senior's love of X-Men comics morphed into a passion for "Crime and Punishment" and "Pride and Prejudice" in his online.