More than two thirds of colleges say social media is ‘fair game’ for application decisions

Assistant Vice President of Enrollment and Director of Admissions, Nathan Fuerst, said in and email that UConn does not access applicants' social media after Kaplan survey reveals most colleges consider it "fair game". (File photo/The Daily Campus)

A Kaplan test prep survey found that 68 percent of colleges think it is “fair game” to access applicants’ social media accounts when considering admission, which does not happen at the University of Connecticut (UConn), Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Director of Admissions  Nathan Fuerst said in an email.

The April 17 survey consisted of 388 admissions officers from across the nation who were asked if using social media in the application process is justifiable. The survey was followed by a separate survey of more than 900 high school students, 70 percent of whom agreed that social media is fair game for college admissions.

“UConn currently does not review social media profiles of students as we evaluate them for admission,” Fuerst said. “Searching and reviewing social media accounts of all applicants would be a sizable undertaking and would require significant resources.”

Fuerst said that in cases where social media posts are brought to the university’s attention by a third party, especially if a law was broken, they are “acted upon in the form of further inquiry with the applicant.”

Even if the university had the resources to search through all Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, second-semester academic center for exploratory student Gina Rossetti said she would have not be concerned if they did.

“Personally I wouldn’t care because I don’t put irresponsible images on there that shows me doing anything illegal so it doesn’t really matter,” Rossetti said.

For students who do upload unfavorable posts on social media, Rossetti said those applicants should be held responsible for how that may reflect on their application.

“If people put wrong or incriminating things on their social media and a university sees that and does not accept them for it, then they only have themselves to blame,” Rossetti said.

In the survey, counselors had the option to write in an opinion regarding the topic, many of which shared the same views as Rossetti.

"Employers do it all the time. Colleges can do it as well,” one counselor said, "I think if things are publicly accessible without undue intrusion, it's OK. If it's searchable, it's fair game."

Maxwell Tracy, a sixth-semester chemical engineering major, said he would hope universities would not consider his social media in admissions, but thinks students should be cautious regardless.

“Ideally I’d say the admissions of a university should be completely independent of your social media,” Tracy said. “But I do think for a student to completely believe that would be a little ignorant and they should always take precautions when they are posting on social media.”


Lillian Whittaker is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lillian.whittaker@uconn.edu.