Googling of college applicants reaches all time high

College applicants are increasingly the subjects of Google searches and social media perusals in campus admissions departments, according to a national survey.

Students are increasingly being negatively impacted by admissions office Google searches.

The online investigatory practice has gained traction in campus admissions offices, but is far from a staple in higher education.

Using Google, Facebook, and other popular sites to research applicants’ backgrounds has never been more commonplace, according to a national survey released Oct. 31 by Kaplan Test Prep.

Twenty-nine percent of admissions employees who responded to the survey said they had Googled an applicant, while 31 percent said they had scoured social media channels for applicant information. One in 10 admissions offices Googled applicants when the Kaplan survey started in 2008.

Seppy Basili, vice president for Kaplan Test Prep, said that “most admissions officers are not tapping into Google or Facebook, and certainly not as a matter of course. But there’s definitely greater acknowledgment and acceptance of this practice now than there was five years ago.”

Admissions officers who responded to a national survey in October 2012 said the percentage of applications that had been negatively affected by social media searches had nearly tripled, from 12 percent in 2010 to 35 percent in 2011.

Admissions experts said quitting social media cold turkey wouldn’t be the answer to protecting against Twitter and Facebook disaster for college hopefuls.

Should colleges make admissions decisions based on Facebook posts? See page 2 for more…