Facebook show and tell can sabotage college admission
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An important lesson for high school students has nothing to do with texts, tests or teachers. The lesson is to watch what you brag about and bare on social media or a personal blog. A bodacious MySpace photo or indiscreet Facebook post may be a deal-blocker in the eyes of campus admissions officers, who sometimes look at online profiles.
About a quarter of colleges and universities check prospective students' social network pages before offering admission or scholarships, says a survey released last month. "Most colleges will do whatever it takes to recruit the right type of student to their respective institution," explains Mark D. Weinstein, dean of enrollment at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind.
Many employers also tap keyboards for background checks on job applicants, who could damage or derail themselves with racy videos, juvenile blog entries or albums full of party animal snaps. At some universities and corporations, applicants are asked for a link to their Facebook or MySpace pages. Not surprisingly, some students think this sort of screening is snooping that's out of bounds. "It is extremely unethical to judge a person's social life by a networking site and it is total invasion of privacy," Kristen Sharaf of Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., wrote this month in a student publication. Campus and business recruiters, she feels, "should be more concerned with the grades you are upholding and what you have to offer them. Personal and professional lives should be kept apart."
Educator says: "No school wants to give a prestigious scholarship to someone standing on a beer keg and wearing a lampshade." -- Nora Ganim Barnes, University of Massachusetts marketing professor
Student says: "I was in a sorority, so maybe there are some racy pics that people shouldn't see, but for the most part I'll take those down. If everyone can't see it, maybe it shouldn't be out there." -- Maggie Attashian, University of Nevada-Reno
Admissions counselor says: "Don't post anything that you don't want your mother or father or college admission officer to see." -- David Hawkins, director of public policy and research, National Association for College Admission Counseling
Front Page Talking Points is written by
Felix Grabowski and Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2013
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