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College admissions using Facebook as a tool for perspective

In today’s society, technology is on the rise. The majority of students will come home from class, log onto the Internet and automatically go to Facebook.

Administrators seem to have caught on and are checking prospective students’ Facebook pages for hindrances that would prevent them from being a good applicant for that college.

Facebook is a social media website that is used by over 800 million people. When logged into the site, users are able to search others’ profiles by looking at pictures, posts, comments and personal information.

The number of college admissions officials using Facebook to learn more about applicants has quadrupled in the past year – though not everyone at Drake University is in agreement of using this method.

“Drake takes a holistic approach,” said Laura Linn, Drake’s director of admission. “We look at students as real people, not objects of Facebook.”

She said that people might portray themselves on Facebook one way but end up being nothing like they seem, and it is unfair to judge them based on Facebook.

Linn also noted that it is more important for administrators to look at the activities prospective students have been involved in, along with course loads, classes and counselor recommendations.

According to USA Today, over 24 percent of admissions officials at 359 selective colleges across the country used Facebook to review applicants. Nearly 12 percent of those students viewed had a “negative impact” on their admission.

In 2009, only six percent of admissions officials used Facebook.

Sophomore Brittany Michael did not care whether admissions officials viewed her Facebook page.

The Internet is a space where information is public, and Michael said when going into college she had no problem with school officials checking her page.

“I have nothing to hide,” she said.

Lilianna Bernstein, senior admission counselor at Drake, reviews between 500 and 600 applicants each year. In past years, there have been over 6,000 applicants, and out of those only 3,800 were admitted, Bernstein said.

“I don’t have time to look at 600 profiles and still be able to do my job,” Bernstein said. “It’s unethical to look at some students profiles and not others.”

Bernstein said that she is sure this debate will go on for a while, and that Drake is obviously an exception from other schools.

“If you wouldn’t want your mom and grandma seeing pictures of you doing beer bongs, then don’t put that on the Internet for others to see,” Bernstein said. “While Drake doesn’t check, other schools do. Keep that in mind.”

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1 Comment

  1. Drake Student November 3, 2011

    Referring to the graphic… the TD staff can’t even spell “Aaron SamUels” correctly?? C’mon.

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