A few days ago, I wrote a blog about how college admission officers are increasingly turning to new media when marketing to teenagers.
But teenagers are going to be more interested in how schools are using these new tools to snoop on them.
An ambitious study conducted at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, suggests that admissions stalking isn’t pervasive. At least not yet.
According to the study, 23% of schools are researching applicants through search engines. About 17% of schools check up on kids through Facebook, MySpace and other social networks.
Schools, however, aren’t snooping on everybody. None of the colleges said they were conducting web checks on all their applicants.
Admission offices are making these online background checks primarily when they are grappling with who will receive prestigious scholarships or who they will select for a coveted academic program with limited spaces.
Still it wouldn’t hurt to be cautious about what you post on your social networks.
And you could try Googling yourself. I do that myself periodically to see how many hits I get. You might be surprised at what you find.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution.