Campus Life

Facebook the Music

If you're a high schooler involved with one or more of those world famous social networking sites, be careful about what you (or your friends) choose to reveal about your personal life. Posting reckless information can be hazardous to your college admission chances.

In an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times:

Some colleges checking out applicants' social networking posts

A new report indicates that some schools' admission or scholarship decisions are being influenced by what they find about an applicant on the Internet. The issue raises ethical concerns.

Larry Gordon cautions:

High school students, beware! College admissions and financial aid officers in California and elsewhere may be peeking over your digital shoulder at the personal information you post on your Facebook or MySpace page.

And they might decide to toss out your application after reading what you wrote about that cool party last week or how you want to conduct your romantic life at college.

According to a new report by the National Assn. for College Admission Counseling, about a quarter of U.S. colleges reported doing some research about applicants on social networking sites or through Internet search engines. The study, which included 10 California colleges, did not specify which schools acknowledged the practice or how often scholarships or enrollment offers might be nixed because of online postings.

David Hawkins, director of public policy and research for the counselors group, said the moral is clear: "Don't post anything that you don't want your mother or father or college admission officer to see," he said.

Colleges' use of such Internet sites raises ethical issues that need further study, including regarding whether online postings are genuine, Hawkins added . . .

So, if you're considering promoting yourself and your personal information on Facebook or MySpace, think twice before you (or friends) upload that picture of you posing wildly with the six pack of Samuel Adams that you just drained. Put your best foot forward on Facebook.

To read what others have said about this issue, see the College Confidential discussion forum. Also, be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.