Are you ultra active on social media pages like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn? Did you know that admissions officers increasingly review an applicant’s social media profile before making final admit decisions?
In fact, the percentage of admissions officers at America’s law schools and business schools who have checked out applicants’ online profiles to learn more about them has hit record highs, at 56 percent and 40 percent, respectively, according to new Kaplan Test Prep research.
Compare that to 2011 — the first year Kaplan began asking this question — when just 37 percent of law school admissions officers and 22 percent of business school admissions officers examined social media posts.
Social Media Review is Fair Game for Admissions Officers
Although an overwhelming majority of admissions officers consider social media profile checks completely acceptable, the actual occurrence of such checks happens at a significantly lower rate.
In fact, Kaplan’s surveys found that 91 percent of law school admissions officers and 71 percent of business school admissions officers say visiting applicants’ social media profiles is “fair game,” as opposed to “an invasion or privacy and shouldn’t be done.”
Curiously, law school applicants had a higher rate of problematic social media content compared to their business school counterparts, at 66 percent and 36 percent, respectively.
Law school admissions officers most cited things like “inappropriate photos” of applicants’ underage drinking, or engaged in “unsavory activities.” Others mentioned applicants who posted something racist, or posting about undisclosed criminal activity.
On the flip side, 29 percent of law school admissions say that what they found has helped applicants’ admissions chances. This compared to a much larger 46 percent for business school admissions officers.
Both groups cited discovering community service activities unmentioned in the traditional application as aiding applicants’ admissions chances.
Noah Teitelbaum, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of pre-business programs, said, “While what you post on social media is not nearly as important as the traditional factors in admissions process like your standardized test scores and GPA, always be mindful of what you post. Your social media footprint can potentially give you an admissions boost, but in some cases it can and will be used against you. Share wisely.”
Our post on how to use social media to strengthen your MBA application will show exactly how you can solidify those good impressions created within the rest of your materials.