To the teenagers who plaster their boredom, distaste for physics and bodily yearnings all over social media while still hoping to get into a good college, here’s a cheerful message: Admissions officers don’t Google you, monitor your Twitter posts, or hack your settings on Facebook – usually.

posts-social-mediaFewer than 1 in 3 admissions officers say they check students’ social media postings or Google them when evaluating applications, according to a forthcoming 2013 survey from Kaplan, the test prep company.

That’s up from 1 in 5 in 2011, but admissions officers are still sufficiently appalled at the idea of invading the privacy of prospective students that any audacious posts are still somewhat shielded.

“That’s their private space,” said Richard Shaw, dean of admissions at Stanford University. “I just think it’s the wrong thing to do.

“Imagine if we could remove ourselves to an age when people wrote wonderful letters back and forth. We wouldn’t be searching through that. So I think it’s wrong to do just because it’s there.”

Many admissions officers agreed. But applicants who still feel it’s risky to trust in the moral rectitude of college officials may take comfort in the sheer impracticality of Googling everyone.

Too many to Google

To wit: UC Berkeley received 83,690 freshmen and transfer applications last year and admitted 18,074. The latter is less than a quarter of the former, but both are still in the five figures.

What about Googling just some?

See page 2 for why checking students’ social media accounts is tantamount to chasing one’s tale…


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