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Facebook & admissions & e-reputations

Reading students like an open facebook, or how social media is reshaping college admissionsEach year I have a chat with our junior class.

It’s an opportunity to discuss resources supporting the college application process and it’s an opportunity to chat with them about their e-reputations.

We talk about email addresses.  Though they are about to begin formal exchanges with the university they are interested in attending, it’s surprising to discover how many of our students still did not have a serious email address–one not attached to a favorite cartoon character, a hobby or passion, one that doesn’t look like partygirl123.

We talk about people search tools.  I have them search their names in and outside of Google, using tools like

We also talk about the fact that social networks are used strategically by adults who make decisions about admissions and hiring–that is important not only to understand and manage your privacy settings, but to keep an eye on how the tagged images and wall posts of others reflect your reputation.

This year, two infographics and a study helped bring that point home to our 16- and 17-year-olds.’s Reading Students Like an Open Facebook shares that colleges are using social media in the recruiting process and that

70% of colleges say that the Facebook profiles of candidates are . . . a medium or high priority in the admissions process.

The networks they admissions officers pay most attention to in recruitment are Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

The good news is, that for the most part–in 68% of cases–their social network profiles served to help the students applicant.

We discussed the recent Kaplan Test Prep study, Facebook Checking is No Longer Unchartered Territory.

The 2011 survey of college admissions officers, revealed and notes the likely underestimate of this data:

Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents from the schools surveyed have gone to an applicant’s Facebook or other social networking page to learn more about them, while 20% have Googled them . . .Of the admissions officers who did tap into these online tools to learn more about prospective students, 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.”

Shared by Mashable in November, and gathered by digital marketing firm KBSD, the e-Reputation infographic illustrates that human resource professionals do search social networking profiles.

Although this poster is clearly designed for an older audience, it suggests very useful strategies for damage control and advice for presenting, not hiding, your good work and contributions.  That message is applicable for teens as well as adults.

Courtesy of:

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Tami Basso says

    I teach elementary students Internet Safety. A first grade boy turned seven this week. He was so excited to tell me his Mom and Grandma set up a Face Book page for him. I told him he was too young for an account and shouldn’t post anything without his Mom’s permission. I a firm believer there is a reason for children not to be allowed to use adult programs. At this age he has no concept of e-reputations and how his Internet use can impact his future.


  1. […] Facebook & admissions & e-reputations « NeverEndingSearch […]

  2. […] and universities, she gives them solid data, resources, and advice, as she relates in her blog at She suggests that they replace those kid or party-animal email addresses with serious ones; tells […]

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