College Admissions Stalking Online

A few days ago, I wrote a blog about how college admission officers are increasingly turning to new media when marketing to teenagers.

But teenagers are going to be more interested in how schools are using these new tools to snoop on them.

An ambitious study conducted at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, suggests that admissions stalking isn’t pervasive. At least not yet.

According to the study, 23% of schools are researching applicants through search engines. About 17% of schools check up on kids through Facebook, MySpace and other social networks.

Schools, however, aren’t snooping on everybody. None of the colleges said they were conducting web checks on all their applicants.

Admission offices are making these online background checks primarily when they are grappling with who will receive prestigious scholarships or who they will select for a coveted academic program with limited spaces.

Still it wouldn’t hurt to be cautious about what you post on your social networks.

And you could try Googling yourself. I do that myself periodically to see how many hits I get. You might be surprised at what you find.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution.

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  1. It is social and colleges and universities are trying to learn as much as they can about applicants. They claim that the information is not disclosed or used to in the decision making process, however don’t believe everything you hear. Here is a link to a private, university search social network that will allow you to compare up to 15 schools at one time , make comments, save your profiles and share them with friends. Admission directors do not have access to your MYSchool account. Which can be linked to your favorite social networking site Facebook, Myspace Dig etc.

  2. The problem with social networking is that it is just that, social. Everyone has a different face they show to the world. While it is not a good idea to put private information in a public place, it should not be viewed in the same light as a resume would. If students want to show themselves to colleges, I recommend This is not a social network, rather a place to network with colleges. I encourage all students to take a look, colleges could be looking for you there at this very moment.