Facebook, Myspace, and College Admissions

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5 Responses

  1. A reader says:

    You know, I’ve often thought that there’s a real advantage in the way law schools tend to do admissions – GPA, LSATs, some other things in the margin. Undergraduate schools are a little creepy in the way they attempt to evaluate the whole of an 18-year-old’s life. Do they have a sufficiently compelling narrative to write into an essay? Are they well-rounded enough or, conversely, too well-rounded and not focused on any one thing? And now, what are their favorite books, movies, and what’s their alcohol consumption like?

    Which is not to say I think it’s necessarily a bad thing to look at a job applicant’s Facebook or MySpace profile to get a sense of their judgment or discretion. It’s just, colleges already use a lot of broad factors to evaluate kids applying for admission, many of which aren’t super relevant to academic performance. Adding more seems to make the whole process even more weirdly all-encompassing, and it can only increase the extent to which high achieving kids feel like they have to shape literally every aspect of their lives around being evaluated by colleges.

  2. Tyler says:

    One thing I wonder is how much looking at Facebook or MySpace profile can affect the decision to admit based on factors that should not be considered such as race, disability or even attractiveness. That is not to say that they would explicitly consider these things, but just that they might bias a decision.

    Also, in the way of safeguards, what if it isn’t just someone else with the same name, but if someone intentionally creates a profile with another individual’s name and other identifying information and then includes content to make that person look bad. I know I’ve seen profiles that were not created by the subject of the profile, and while those were just innocuous jokes, it could be much more serious in the world of very competitive schools.

  3. Indy says:

    I would actually be interested if you have any thoughts about how it might work in reverse. For instance, a lawyer, properly concerned about privacy, does not have profiles on social networking sites. Lawyer applies to firm. Firm searches common social networking sites for lawyer’s profile, finds nothing. Firm rejects lawyer in part because he does not have such profiles. Firm’s Possible Rationale: Lawyer is unwilling to network, too introverted, etc. Do you see any danger of this type of thing happening, as we increasingly see an erosion of the meaning of privacy and the creation of social norms encouraging “publication” of personas?

  4. Bradjward says:

    This whole survey is blown way out of proportion. Here are my thoughts:

    http://squaredpeg.com/index.php/2008/09/22/10-of-admission-counselors/

  5. Zac says:

    To reference Solove’s book “the future of reputation,” he speaks of how individuals have many different identities that depend upon the environment the person is in. In public you act different than you would by yourself and the same goes for if you’re around your parents as to your friends.

    I think that employers or admission deans using facebook, myspace, or blogs as a factor in hiring or granting admission is mixing the identities that individuals have. Obviously these sources give some insight into a person, but usually it gives insight into the wrong aspect of that person’s identity.

    Mixing these identities is dangerous because it portrays people’s identities out of context. A person on facebook that depicts themselves at wild parties cannot be assumed to be an employee that will exhibit poor performance. These two areas of an individuals life should remain separate whether or not they are in public.

    In response to Bradjward’s link. Even if the survey demonstrates bad methodology, I think that it still deserves some thought about the implications that are caused by its findings. Assuming admission deans don’t do it as much as Kaplan claims they do, employers using it raises the exact same problems and there is much more evidence of this.