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Mark Bauerlein

Your Dream College Can See Twitter, Too

College-admissions officers are increasingly looking at information on applicants that has nothing to do with grade-point averages, SAT scores or extracurricular work. They want to know if a young person is going to make trouble or shows signs of bad behavior that could lead to bad publicity or a legal investigation.

The headlines terrify school administrators: Sexual assaults in the dorms (University of Kansas), racist graffiti (Fordham University), pseudo-racist hoaxes (Oberlin College), cheating (Harvard University), binge drinking (everywhere). The students involved may be smart, ambitious and accomplished. Yet they can still have poor judgment on a Saturday night, and their 20 minutes of stupidity or worse can affect the reputation of schools that have to deal with the consequences, which can include lawsuits and federal scrutiny.