Few colleges use Facebook in admissions
MU only considers high school factors for undergraduate admissions.
Dec. 01, 2009
Only a small number of undergraduate and graduate schools consider content on applicants' Facebook profiles and other social networking sites as part of their admissions process, according to a recent survey.
Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, a New York-based college admission test preparation company, surveyed 320 admissions officers from around the country and said in a Nov. 18 news release 10 percent of undergraduate admissions officers said they considered content on applicants' Facebook profiles.
The rates were slightly higher among graduate admissions officers, depending on the type of graduate school.
MU spokesman Christian Basi said the university does not look at applicants' Facebook profiles or other social media sites during the admissions process. He said because MU enrollment is not capped, students are not competing with others for spots and are automatically admitted if they meet certain academic criteria.
"The only three factors that count in the MU admissions process are the ACT or SAT test score, the student's class rank and their high school course load," Basi said.
But he said information from Facebook profiles and other social networking sites could be used in university disciplinary proceedings.
"We may use Facebook in the discipline process just like any other evidence we obtain, but only if we can determine that it is relevant and reliable," Basi said.
Jeff Koetje, assistant director of pre-health programs at Kaplan, said most medical schools do not have policies on viewing applicants' social networking pages and evaluating them on the content, but those that did have policies uniformly prohibit it. He said law and business schools have somewhat less restrictive policies, according to the surveys.
"It's a very new world and there's a lot of uncharted territory," Koetje said. "There's a question as to whether the information gained is even relevant."
Julie Fine, a senior at Antioch Community High School in Antioch, Ill., said she had not worried about the content of her Facebook profile when applying to MU this fall.
"I thought about it but I'm not that kind of person at all," she said. "I don't party or drink or anything. I just checked it to make sure nothing bad was up there."
Pat Iversen, a senior at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas, who has been admitted to MU for the 2010-2011 school year, said he was more careful about what appeared on his Twitter page than his Facebook profile.
"While I was applying to Mizzou, I did watch what I posted and who posted there," he said.
The Kaplan survey also showed 71 percent of admissions officers had reported receiving a friend request from a student applying for admission. Koetje said students might send such requests to make a good impression with admissions officers, but the move could hurt their chances if their profile contains inappropriate content.
"There's a real risk in friending an admissions officer because depending on the security level of that Facebook (profile), the applicant is now an open book to that admissions officer," Koetje said.