Our View: Web profile nightmares

Tuesday , October 16, 2012 - 12:50 PM

Editorial Board

College applicants, particularly teens and young adults, have to beware of what they put on their Web profiles. Stupid online statements, or other offensive posts, are being screened by colleges which consider an applicants’ electronic footprint as part of the vetting process.

In other words, that tasteless joke, raunchy photo, or comment made while in a less-than-perfect mental state, will come back to haunt you. And it can prevent you from attaining academic or professional goals.

According to the Kaplan Test Prep survey, About 25 percent of the top 500 colleges do vet applicants’ social media histories, such as Facebook, Google, etc. And, the survey adds that more than a third of these social media vetting procedures have discovered things that hurt the college applicants’ chances to gain admission to a school.

Although most schools still aren’t peeking into the online lives of applicants, it’s definitely a trend that will continue to grow. By the time high school sophomores — most of whom have already grabbed onto a Facebook account — get ready to try to get into the colleges they desire, it’s likely far more schools will use the social media vetting process.

Students, be smart when you’re online and posting information about yourself. Before posting anything that might fall under the "provocative" definition, think about it twice, or three times, or four times ... or 10 times if necessary.

It’s a tragedy if one dumb act that takes a few seconds to publish ends up destroying a higher-education dream.

What’s interesting about the world today is that we can do things in the comfort of our home, instantaneously, that can be available for review across the entire world. Our ancestors would have been amazed at such worldwide spontaneity and access. But such freedom comes with risk, and caution remains as advisable as it has always been.

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