Local News

Colleges check social networking sites of applicants

Posted February 4, 2010 9:40 p.m. EST
Updated February 5, 2010 7:58 a.m. EST

— North Carolina State University senior Jennifer Thomas doesn’t just post anything on her Facebook page.

“Anyone can go on your page and look at it,” she said. “I don’t think people realize those things are gonna stay around.”

Thomas Griffin, director of undergraduate admissions at NCSU, said that in rare cases when admission officials have serious questions about a applicant, they look them up on social networking Web sites Facebook or MySpace.

“Social media is just one more way to verify information about students,” Griffin said. “They may reinforce our concerns.”

Through social networking profiles, officials can see photos, job history and status updates.

“If their Web site shows them in some conduct we deem inappropriate for our students, that could be a red flag for us,” Griffin said.

Griffin said that while there are about 24,000 applicants in a typical cycle, the school only checks the Web pages of a few. The tool, though, might be used more in the future, he said.

Lauren Overton said her fellow students post “anything and everything you can imagine” on their social networking sites.

“It is really kind of scary for jobs and schools to look into that,” Overton said.

Mentioning certain things could hurt your chances of getting a job or getting into a certain school. Mentioning partying, drinking, fighting or a past history with the law could hurt your image with a college admissions office.

Experts say people should consider their Web page as important as their application.