Few colleges check applicants’ social media posts

“That would be a problem, too,” said Rita Kasperek of the Cal admissions office. “We want to make sure the process has integrity.”

Even at tiny Harvey Mudd, the private science and math college in the prestigious Claremont Colleges in Southern California, admissions officers would have to check out more than 3,000 applicants.

“I don’t want to do that,” said Peter Osgood, director of admissions. “I could chase my tail for a long number of hours.”

Suppose an applicant asked the college to look at a link – say, the student plays a jaw-dropping rendition of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 on YouTube – “I might – if I had time,” Osgood said. “But mostly I don’t.”

That’s good news for students whose online presence is the opposite of playing Prokofiev: “o god i cnat let Harvard see dat cover photo o me at a rave tryign heroin 4 the first time! why i do dat!/! gota cange mi name!” tweets “Sara” with her photo.

More unblushing posts from the precollegiate set are found using the hashtag #highschool. Like the one from “Victoria,” who tweets that “physics will be the death of me.” Or “Diego,” tweeting how #bored he is. Or “Emma,” whose boy-teasing tweet offers an explicit invitation.

Others come from community college students like “King,” who may wish to transfer to a university someday. He tweets a selfie at City College of San Francisco “in class w/my feet up like f*** it” then posts it all to Instagram.

Caution on the web

Yet some students are so cautious that they won’t even follow the Facebook page of a college they care about because it could let the college see their information, said Luis Lecanda, assistant director of admissions at Santa Clara University.