College applicants beware, clean up your Facebook & Twitter

SEARCY (KATV) - Socialmedia continues to become more commonplace in everyday life. But now a warning from a national survey ofcollege admissions counselors; the things you post on Facebook and Twittermight get you rejected from the college of your choice.

A Kaplan Test Prep studyfound that 31% of college admissions counselors are checking out potentialstudents' social media pages, trying to learn more about them.

Out of eight public andprivate universities surveyed by Channel 7 here in Arkansas, most claimed thatwasn't a part of the application process. However at Harding University in Searcy,social media sites are fair game.

"Out of the thousands ofapplications we receive, we don't look at every student's Facebook page or readtheir Twitter," said Glenn Dillard, assistant vice-president of enrollment atHarding University. "But if we read in areference that there may be something questionable we will."

Dillard said questionablebehavior includes everything from illicit activities, racial bigotry, bullying,to sexual immorality. He said predominantlyit's Harding's stance as a faith-based school that has them checking out theirpotential students.

"Harding is at our core, aChristian University," said Dillard. "We'rewanting students who will uphold that Christian standard that we've set forthfor our students."

But at the University ofArkansas at Little Rock they claim social media is not something they'relooking at. With more than 12,000students on campus, they said it's just something they don't have the time todo.

"That would be a big jobfor an institution," said Dean Kahler, chancellor for enrollment management atUALR. "We've got a lot of other thingsthat we can do that are a lot more positive than go after students for socialmedia things that they may be posting."

However Kahler said it'snot to say he doesn't warn his students and prospective applicants. He said keeping social media clean especiallyapplies to college graduates applying for jobs.

"Whatever decisions youmake, just be aware of the consequences that could possibly be associated withthat," said Kahler.

Representatives fromadmissions departments at the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College,Ouachita Baptist University, Arkansas Technical University, University ofArkansas at Fayetteville and Henderson State University all said that checkingsocial media pages of applicants is not part of their application process.

Suzanne McCray, dean ofadmissions at the U of A Fayetteville, said they would only check out aFacebook or Twitter account if they received information that would requirethem to do so. Lori Motl, director ofadmission at OBU said they would only check out social media sites for housingrequests and potentially when it comes to placing someone in a leadershipposition at the University.

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