Admissions offices use Facebook pages to recruit students

Amy Thornton

Eighty-two percent of college admissions offices use Facebook to recruit students, according to Kaplan’s 2010 survey of college admissions officers.

Kaplan, a test prep company, surveyed admissions officers from the nation’s top 500 schools about their offices’ admission process, including general admission trends and use of social networking.

The UT Office of Admissions does not currently use Facebook profiles as a method for reviewing or recruiting applicants, said deputy director Augustine Garza.

“We see the merit of these various social networks, but we haven’t decided if that’s a route we would like to go,” Garza said. “Students identify themselves to us and tell us that they are interested in attending UT, so we currently do not use social networking sites for recruitment. We make connections with students more on the lines of formulating lists, writing them letters and visiting their high schools, not social networking.”

To Garza’s knowledge, none of UT’s peer institutions have begun to use social networking sites for admissions purposes, although he said he is aware that many universities do. According to the survey, 86 percent of schools do not have official policies regarding applicants’ social networking pages.

“I’ve heard that employers look at profiles, but I had no idea that college admissions can,” said government and Hispanic studies freshman Kolby Lee. “I keep my profile very appropriate, but I don’t know that I would have wanted anyone in admissions looking at my profile. I don’t really think there is anything positive that they can get from a profile that they can’t see in an application.”

Kaplan reported in the 2009 edition of its admissions officers survey that college applicants’ Facebook profiles are not a factor among the vast majority of college admissions officers.

According to the report, only one in 10 officers had ever looked at an applicants’ profile.

“As important and mainstream as technology has become, it shouldn’t be a surprise that college admissions officers might be looking at Facebook pages, Twitter profiles or blogs to scope out prospective students,” said public relations and French senior Sarah Settele. According to the survey, 56 percent of admissions offices use Twitter to recruit prospective students.

Tightening privacy settings and changing inappropriate profile pictures is a good way for high school seniors to create better impressions for admissions officers, Settele said.

“I think it’s a great idea to start training students early to monitor what their Facebook pages say about them,” she said. “The use of Facebook in admissions and hiring decisions is only going to increase as time goes on.”