Could all those selfies sink your teen's Harvard dreams? The college application process is stressful enough; now parents also have to worry about managing their teenagers' online reputation.
Colleges are increasingly searching for applicants' names on the Internet as part of their review, according to new research from Kaplan Test Prep in which 30 percent of admissions officers say that they had Googled an applicant or visited their social networking profiles. It’s a significant increase from previous years, according to Seppy Basili, a college admissions expert at Kaplan.
However, nearly 50 percent of high school respondents said they were “not at all concerned” about online searches hurting their chances of admissions.
Since most applications are now submitted online, it’s easy for a reader to open a new tab while reviewing a student’s essay and do a background check simultaneously, said Debbie Kanter, an independent college consultant at North Shore College Consulting in Chicago.
The problem is, nobody really knows what happens behind closed doors, and colleges are tightlipped about how heavily they weigh online information. Often, school admissions offices don't have uniform policies for how to do so, leading to the potential for inconsistent treatment among applicants, the New York Times reports.