Latest Kaplan Survey finds Facebook Checking is No Longer Unchartered Territory in College Admissions: Percentage of Admissions Officers Who Visited An Applicant’s Profile On the Rise.

Nearly 24% of respondents from the schools surveyed have gone to an applicant’s Facebook or other social networking page to learn more about them.

20% have Googled to find info about students.

So, what impacts your admission chances?

  • 12% said that what they found negatively impacted the applicant’s admissions chances.
  • Offenses cited included essay plagiarism, vulgarities in blogs, alcohol consumption in photos and “illegal activities.”

In Job Search Tips #1 – I asked to clean up your Social Media profiles during job search, but now after looking at the survey results from Kaplan, looks like you have to clean-up your Facebook profiles even before applying for admission.

  • Biggest Application Killer: 53% of admissions officers said that a low high school GPA is the biggest application killer.  Placing second at 19% is a low SAT or ACT score.  Those who are not involved in everything from the Future Farmers of America to cheerleading and everything in between can take solace in that none said a lack of extracurricular activities is the biggest application killer.
  • Are Applicants Dreaming Too Big?: While all applicants should have their “reach schools”  and nobody should apply to just “safety schools,” 4% of admissions officer s said that more than 5 in 10 students “overreached” in applying to their school; 5% said 5 in 10 applicants overreached; 8% said 4 in 10 applicants.
  • When in Doubt, Don’t Wait:  42% of college admissions officers said that the best way for applicants to get off the waitlist and into the entering class is by showing that they  improved their  GPA the second half of senior year.  That means they should get their senioritis vaccinations now!  It can make a big difference in how students’ college plans turn out.

The survey was conducted by phone in July and August 2011 as part of Kaplan Test Prep’s annual survey of admissions officers and includes responses from 359 of the nation’s top 500 colleges and universities, as compiled from U.S. News & World Report’s Ultimate College Guide and Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges.

Among the colleges that participated were 38 of the top 50.  The wording of some questions changed slightly from year to year.

Action Item

If you have vulgarities in blogs, alcohol consumption in photos and “illegal activities” or other offensive stuffs in facebook, then clean it or block the info from public view using privacy settings.


  1. KS on September 30, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Actually this is a great idea,I never thought that I could have expected this from the colleges, but truly when there are tons of applications, to be able to see and differentiate fake from real and in order to get the entire picture of any applicant, this seems like a very good and apt way. Because there are so many pretend students and people who just copy another in order to give an appearance of something that they think is apt which is one of the most annoying things ever.

  2. dirtymac on September 29, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    what has fb got to do with research?

  3. Rahul on September 29, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    What if I don’t have facebook? I’m afraid I deleted my fb account . Will Google+ work?

  4. Dewang on September 29, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    Good tip…but i have already applied to the universities…not much time left for the decision..still ill look out if there’s any obscene or unnecessary photos or notes in my pro..

  5. PP on September 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    I actually have heard about this with respect to jobs. Potential employers do sometimes look for you online and try to see some information about you. I do agree with HSB on that. As for the same thing being done before admissions, if cleaning up your social networking profiles is going to not hamper but only help your consideration for admission, then why not?

    Plagiarism in essays I think could be a huge killer. I am not sure how many universities go around checking it, but, well, why shouldn’t they go ahead and check. I have reviewed Personal Statements of people who reach out to me and some of them sound so very clichéd and automatically make me feel that there is not much of authenticity. So it could be possible that the application reviewers might feel the same and may be prompted to look for essay plagiarism.

  6. AM on September 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    thanks a ton!!! will make sure that I clean up my blog now 😀

  7. varun on September 29, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    wht do they mean by extra circular activities????
    ppt or being sports ????
    can u please give me clarity ???

  8. John Samuel on September 29, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    What a helpful tip_hsb: up youuuuu

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.