Kaplan Test Prep Survey: More College Admissions Officers Checking Applicants’ Digital Trails, But Most Students Unconcerned

  Kaplan Test Prep Survey: More College Admissions Officers Checking
  Applicants’ Digital Trails, But Most Students Unconcerned

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- October 31, 2013

The percentages of college admissions officers who say they have Googled an
applicant (29%) or visited an applicant’s Facebook or other social networking
page to learn more about them (31%) have risen to their highest levels yet,
according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2013 survey of college admissions officers*.
When Kaplan first began tracking this issue in 2008, barely 10% of admissions
officers reported checking an applicant’s Facebook page. Last year, 27% had
used Google and 26% had visited Facebook — up from 20% and 24%, respectively,
in 2011.

“As social media has skyrocketed from being the domain of a younger generation
to societal ubiquity, the perceived taboo of admissions officers checking
applicants online has diminished,” said Seppy Basili, Vice President, Kaplan
Test Prep. “Granted, most admissions officers are not tapping into Google or
Facebook, and certainly not as a matter of course. But there’s definitely
greater acknowledgment and acceptance of this practice now than there was five
years ago.”

Despite the growth in online checking, however, there’s been a dip — to 30%
this year from 35% in Kaplan’s 2012 survey — in the number of admissions
officers reporting that they’re finding something that negatively impacted an
applicant’s admissions chances. And notably, in a separate survey of
college-bound students**, more than three-quarters said they would not be
concerned if an admissions officer Googled them. In response to the question,
“If a college admissions officers were to do an online search of you right
now, how concerned would you be with what they found negatively impacting your
chances of getting in?” 50% said they would be “Not at all concerned” while
27% said “Not too concerned.” Only 14% of students said they would be “Very
concerned” while the remainder said they would be “Somewhat concerned.”

“Many students are becoming more cautious about what they post, and also
savvier about strengthening privacy settings and circumventing search,” said
Christine Brown, Executive Director of College Admissions programs, Kaplan
Test Prep. Kaplan’s student survey also showed that 22% had changed their
searchable names on social media, 26% had untagged themselves from photos, and
12% had deleted their social media profiles altogether.

“Our advice to college applicants is to run themselves through online search
engines on a regular basis to be aware of what information is available about
them online, and know that what’s online is open to discovery and can impact
them,” said Basili. “Sometimes that impact is beneficial, if online searches
turn up postings of sports scores, awards, public performances or news of
something interesting they’ve undertaken. But digital footprints aren’t always
clean, so students should maintain a healthy dose of caution, and definitely
think before posting.”

For more information about Kaplan Test Prep’s 2013 survey of college
admissions officers, please contact Russell Schaffer at
russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

* For the 2013 survey, 381 admissions officers from the nation’s top national,
regional and liberal arts colleges and universities – as compiled from U.S.
News & World Report – were polled by telephone between July and August 2013.

** 422 Kaplan students who took the SAT the ACT between December 2012 and
April 2013 were surveyed by email.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and
career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938,
Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive
menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and
digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized
tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate
school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and
nurses. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions
consulting services.

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company


Kaplan Test Prep
Russell Schaffer, 212-453-7538
Twitter: @KapTestNews
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