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Revising Facebook Pages Before Applying to College

November 14, 2011

We hear about employers and recruiters checking out candidate Facebook pages before extending offers for employment or promotion in our professional lives. The same is true for college bound students. Along with polishing up essays, students applying for college entrance might be smart to spend time reviewing their online presence and revising their social-media profiles.

Admissions counselors are checking out applicants’ Facebook pages. The latest survey shows 24 percent say they have gone to an applicant’s Facebook or other social-networking page to learn more about the person, and 20 percent have Googled him or her. Others, such as Schools.com, say as many as 70 percent of colleges use Facebook as a medium to high priority in the admissions process. Online profiles can help or hurt a student’s chances, depending on what’s included. Experts suggest doing a search on Google of your name to see what pops up and make adjustments where possible.

Cleaning up your image is good. Changing Facebook default settings to limit access to profiles and past posts. Review photos and take off inappropriate ones. Also check out where friends have tagged photos and change settings so only friends can see these posts.

The smartest solution is prevention. Teach students from the beginning to be thoughtful about what the put out to the public. Nothing on the Internet is private.

The really smart solution is to publish a favorable brand promise. A piece in U.S. News and World Report this week talks about colleges using Facebook profiles as an introduction to students’ interests and how it can play up an applicant’s strengths.

The college entrance application review goes beyond what’s on paper with students’ grades, test scores, and essays. Now, getting accepted into college requires students to be tech-savvy about how they appear online not just to their friends but to prospective colleges entrance officials.

What impression does your page or your student’s page project to the public?
We are curious, what about your page are you thinking about changing?