Kaplan test prep was out this week with the results of their latest survey on college admissions officers and internet background checks. The results show an increase in the recent trends for admissions officers, and a surprising change in the behavior of high school students.
That college admissions staffers have increased their use of digital tools in evaluating candidates has been widely reported. In responding to the survey, which was conducted between July and August of 2013, 29% of admissions officers reported having Googled a candidate in 2013, vs. 27% in 2012, 20% in 2011. In terms of checking Facebook or other social media sites, 31% confirmed doing so in 2013 vs. 26% in 2012, 24% in 2011 and 10% in 2008.
What is surprising is that there has been a decrease in the number of admissions officers that have found something online that has negatively impacted a candidate. 30% of admissions officers reported finding something that negatively reflected on an applicant in 2013, vs. 35% in 2012.
At least to some extent, students are wising up to the newish reality. In preparation for the college application process, according to a separate Kaplan survey of students, 22% of students had changed their name on social media, 26% had untagged themselves in photos and 12% had deleted social media profiles entirely.
Our view is that the former trend will continue – not only will admissions officers continue to look online for reputation damaging info, but odds are they will also get more efficient at it. Will students continue to stay ahead of the game? That remains to be seen.
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