Kaplan, the test people, recently issued a report on a survey regarding Facebook use by college admissions staff, stating that 82 percent of the 386 participating admissions officers used Facebook as a recruiting tool. It turns out that the statistic also encompasses prospective students who sent a request to friend an admissions officer. Eighty percent of the admissions people say yes, up nine percent from a 2009 study.
So, it's not just about prowling admissions officers digging up unsavory photos or tasteless comments -- it's about students inviting them to do so. Even though most of our kids are pretty smart about this stuff, here are a few simple tips, from Facebook and other sources, about positioning a teen's Facebook persona prior to applying to colleges.
1. Clean up the photos in the Facebook gallery. If there is anything questionable or ambiguous, kill it. If teens see a photo of themselves elsewhere, untag it and try to get it deleted.
2. Use the privacy settings. Make sure what you want private is private. Or make sure what is not protected is a fair representation that you wouldn't mind your mom seeing.
3. Google yourself occasionally to make sure there are no problems.
Facebook is becoming part of our students' applications. It may not carry the weight of GPAs and test scores, but it can be a factor. So be smart about it.