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Last couple of years, I’ve become increasingly interested in the way social media is shaping the college admissions process. Most of the articles that I’ve seen are more than just a good read; they’re like an insider’s playbook on how selective colleges are using new media to recruit, screen (out) and induce students.

So, as another Spring Break season comes to a close (and I find myself ‘tagged’ in my share of Spring Break pics, sans bowtie), I wanted to share some social media nuggets that I hope you’ll like and share with your college-bound teens, friends and neighbors.

First, in a recent Kaplan Test Prep telephone survey, 31 % of College Admissions Officers who responded, admitted to checking their applicants’ social media pages for ‘red flags’ prior to granting acceptance (and 30% of those folks said that they found information that negatively affected the applicant) .

Second, employers routinely use social media both to search for and vet potential job applicants. A study by Harris Interactive conducted two years ago found that 35% of hiring managers had actually decided NOT to offer a job to a potential candidate based on content they found on that candidate’s social networking site, I bet that number is much, much higher today!

And finally, though a few states have passed and a few others are considering legislation to restrict an employer or a college’s access to a prospect’s social media passwords, many will ask you to ‘friend’ them or otherwise ‘voluntarily’ provide them with this information.

So, if you’re applying to college, graduate school or for a job… or planning to someday, I suggest that you temper the sharing of your Spring Break (or any personal) revelry. As I’ve told my teenage daughter, social media is NOT a personal diary; it is a digital footprint that can enhance (or weaken) how the world perceives you.So, have fun and express yourself… but be smart about it.

Don’t say or do anything that you wouldn’t want the admissions committee, your potential boss or your mom to hear you say or see you do!

Best,
Peter

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