College admissions officers still believe it’s acceptable practice to check applicants’ social media, but the number who actually do so has declined, due in part to teenagers’ increased use of social media platforms that do not archive content.
Sixty-eight percent of colleges and universities in Kaplan Test Prep’s annual college admissions officer survey say applicant’s social media accounts are “fair game” during the admissions process. They report checking platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to get better ideas of who applicants really are and if they’re likely to be a good fit.
Kaplan conducted a separate survey of 900 high school students reveals that 70 percent of students agree that it’s fair for admissions officers to check out social activity.
While 40 percent of admissions officers in Kaplan’s 2015 college admissions survey said they’ve actually checked applicants’ social media, 35 percent did so last year, and 29 percent report doing so in this year’s survey.
Nine percent of admissions officers say they have revoked an incoming student’s admission based on what they found on social media. Last year, Harvard University revoked acceptances for a handful of students after offensive memes were posted in a private Facebook group for incoming freshmen.