School Admissions Officers Turn to Social Media

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School Admissions Officers Turn to Social Media

Kaplan Test Prep’s 2017 survey of over 150 business schools across the United States finds a growing number of school admissions officers tapping into social media to help them decide who gets in and who does not.

Of the admissions officers surveyed, over a third (35%) say they have visited applicants’ social media profiles to learn more about them, a jump from less than a quarter (22%) in 2011. Additionally, many who check profiles do it frequently – of those business school admissions officers who have said they have visited applicants’ social media profiles, 33% say they do it “often.”

Notably, social media both hurt and helped applicants in nearly equal proportion. Among admissions officers who visit applicants’ social media footprints, half say they have found something that negatively impacted an applicant’s admissions chances – more than triple the 14% who reported this in 2011. Among the online discoveries that have hurt students:

I found one student who made it clear that he wanted to flip houses. I thought, ‘Why should we offer a slot to him when you don’t need an MBA to do that.’

I learned about a student’s racial attitudes and didn’t want to bring that into the school.

We have had applicants who had disturbing pictures on their Facebook account.

On the flip side, almost as many (48%) reported finding something that positively impacted an applicant’s admissions chances. (This question was not asked in 2011.) Here is what helped applicants according to the source:

We saw a lot of information regarding volunteer work that was not included in the application.

We got a better understanding of the student. We got to learn more about their hobbies, and ambitions.

We were able to see their writing samples and creative thinking.

Among all admissions officers, 61% agree with the statement “What students post on their social media pages is in the public sphere, so it’s ‘fair game’ for us to use to help make admissions decisions,” which may signal there is room for more taking this route.

Brian Carlidge, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduates programmes at Kaplan Test Prep, commented for Business Wire:

Successful business school applicants are the ones who are prepared. They submit strong GMAT or GRE scores, high GPAs, compelling letters of recommendation, impressive essays, and wow at the interviews. In a sense, that makes it scripted and choreographed, though rigorous. Business school admissions may take to social media to look for the less polished version of the applicant, not necessarily to find their weak spots, but just to see how they are in everyday life.

Mr Carlidge also added:

What you post on social media is a wildcard in the MBA admissions process and not nearly as important as the traditional factors, but always be mindful of what you share. Your social media footprint can potentially give you an admissions boost, but in some cases it can and will be used against you.

Source: Business Wire

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