The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

Facebook, Twitter play role in college admissions process, experts say [corrected]

Tools for getting into college: GPA, SAT…and Facebook? reports at least one case of an applicant being rejected because of something in his or her social media profile. One interviewer saysthat she is “absolutely” prejudiced by what she sees online about candidates.

“I think it’s always better to be safe than sorry,” said Allison Otis, an interviewer for Harvard College, in a Quora thread quoted by “When you apply to college you spend such a long time crafting an image through your applications and essays that to be careless about your online data is just silly.”

Otis said she regularly Googles students and looks through their Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Competition for a limited number of spots at colleges and universities around the country are forcing admissions offices to look for more deciding factors.

Dean Tsouvalas, editor of, recommends in a recent blog post that students use colleges’ new cyber-nosiness to their advantage.

He suggests following the school’s Twitter feed or liking its Facebook fan page. Or students can make a YouTube video resume or blog about volunteering efforts or extracurriculars and provide a link on the application.

-- Tiffany Hsu [follow]

Photo: Victoria Kaestner, a senior at Wilson High School in Long Beach, works on her college applications in the career center on the school's campus in October. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

[Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly referred to Allison Otis on second reference as Oster. The blog post also said that admissions test-prep company Kaplan said 80% of college admissions officials look up prospective students on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Kaplan said that more than 80% of admissions officials say their schools use Facebook to recruit prospective candidates.]

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