Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Nov. 25, 2013

Essays? Check. Recommendations? Check. Social media pages?

by Harini Salgado, Online Entertainment Editor
It's that time of year when all seniors can think about is college, college, college. Many of the seniors are recovering from the frenzy they felt just before early application deadline and are starting to work on regular decision college applications. But while they perfect their essays and worry about teacher recommendations, many seniors don't realize that they have another thing they should be thinking about: their social media.

More college admissions officers say they have looked at an applicant's social media pages. Courtesy of Forbes
More college admissions officers say they have looked at an applicant's social media pages.
As more and more people, not just the younger generation, join social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, there has been an increase in the number of colleges admissions officers who say that they have checked applicants' social networking pages or simply Googled them. In a study by Kaplan Test Prep, 31 percent of admissions officers admitted that they had visited an applicantís Facebook page and 29 percent admitted to Googling them. This is up from 24 percent and 20 percent respectively in 2011. While it is fair for admissions officers to check applicant's social media, they need to understand that teenagers often make comments they don't think about. A few posts should not disqualify a student.

This should not be surprising in a world where it is known that employers check prospective employees' social media sites. However after Natasha Singer published her article on the subject in the New York Times, lots of parents, teachers and other school officials started talking about and spreading the article around to warn high school students.

Although they are not that happy about it, many seniors at Blair think that college admissions officers should be allowed to check applicants' social media sites. "When you're posting something on a social media site, you're broadcasting to the entire world so I donít understand why people would have much of a problem with colleges looking at them," senior Vera Belaia said. Senior Chloe Garfinkel has a similar opinion. "I don't like it, but I think it's okay because if you put anything you don't want them to see up, you can always change your privacy settings," she said.

Many students have taken steps to make their online presence more appropriate. Some have created accounts under pseudonyms, others have untagged themselves from pictures, deleted comments or even their social media profiles altogether. A recent ABC News article gives seven rules to keep social media profiles clear. Check it out for advice.



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