Before you make your profile picture the photo of you chugging a bottle of Smirnoff, keep in mind that a college admissions counselor could be one of the lucky people who stumble upon that gem.
According to Time NewsFeed, a new survey released in February reveals that 82 percent of admissions officers use Facebook in their recruiting (Kaplan Test Prep). This means that it is possible that your dream graduate school might be discovering more about your social activities than you included in your application.
Kristen Dawes, Bloomfield Hills senior, recently finished applying to graduate schools for an MFA in creative writing. She believes people should be smarter about what goes on their Facebook profiles.
“I think everyone should do a better job monitoring what they put on Facebook for anyone to see, but at the same time I don’t think people should censor themselves,” Dawes said. “It’s a fine line, but overall, people should think a little bit harder before throwing things up on Facebook.”
Students in the process of applying to graduate schools can take steps to make their profile more private during the application and admissions processes, such as changing their name or eliminating their profile altogether.
But college students are not the only people who should be censoring their Facebooks. High school students’ profiles are also targets of college admissions officers. Though many schools may turn to “Facebook stalking,” Albion College does not.
Kristen Padilla, Albion College admission counselor, said that it is fair for college admissions to use Facebook as a recruiting tool as long as the line of professionalism is not crossed.
“I think there are different ways to use Facebook [during recruitment].” Padilla said. “For instance, we invite any admitted Albion student to a group and we post pictures or videos and give them an opportunity to kind of come together.”
In terms of “stalking” potential students on Facebook, Padilla said Albion only uses the social networking site for marketing purposes and does not actively search for students to analyze their profiles.
“[Albion] has probably never used Facebook to check the background of a student,” Padilla said. “But I’d say most students are smart enough to have a high privacy setting so that we can’t view their profiles.”
Padilla was adamant that they would never use Facebook as a tool to check student’s backgrounds. When asked if Albion would ever buy the rights to a high-privacy student profile, she said no.
“Never,” “Padilla said. “I can see other schools doing that, but Albion would never go as far to buy right from Facebook just to see a student’s profile.”
Rachel Smith, another Albion admissions counselor, said she is not actvely looking up potential students on the site, but cautions students who are in the process of applying to graduate schools. Smith advises students to monitor what they share on their profiles, because once a picture is on Facebook, it’s on the internet forever.
“Once it’s out there, you can never control it,” Smith said. “I would err on the side of caution. If you don’t want people to know about it, don’t put it on there. Facebook is a portrayal of yourself, and you obviously should want that to be a positive portrayal, especially when you’re applying to grad school.”