Admissions boards could benefit from using online networking sites

By By Jeffrey Jenkins

By Jeffrey Jenkins

We live in an era in which social networking has become as commonplace as phone calls.

Facebook records there are more than 150 million active users on its social network. On average, Facebook receives more than 150 new applicants every day. MySpace has staggering numbers as well8212;one in four Americans has a MySpace page. Facebook, MySpace and other sites have made keeping in touch with distant friends and family as easy as posting a comment. Networking sites have become places where people can broadcast their lifestyles for the whole world to view.

College admission boards are also utilizing the opportunities that social networking sites provide them. However, it is not to keep in touch with possible applicants. A survey by Kaplan between the months of July and August revealed one out of every 10 admissions officers has viewed an applicant’s social network site as part of the admissions process. Of those surveyed, 25 percent reported that the social Web pages viewed had a positive effect on the admissions officer. However, 38 percent said the social Web sites negatively affected their opinion of the candidate.

Susan Baca, the operations coordinator of the admissions office at the S.J. Quinney College of Law said the U’s law school does not utilize this approach when ascertaining qualities about a candidate.

“The practice is logistically prohibitive,” Baca said. She also said not all of the applicants even have a social networking site to view. Leana Prigmore, supervisor of graduate admissions, said applications and transcripts are the only item viewed.

The practice of viewing an applicant’s Web pages offers greater insight into the personality and character of a potential student. If students are going to willingly broadcast their lifestyles on a network to be viewed by anyone, college admissions would do well to take advantage of the insight the sites offer. Test scores, GPA, personal essays and questionnaires only reveal so much about a candidate.

Viewing a candidate in his or her social environment with pictures and descriptions of an applicant’s social practices will help universities better ascertain whether they are admitting a candidate with ideal characteristics or an individual who cloaks character behind good grades.

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Jeffrey Jenkins