More colleges checking online footprints, but most students not too concerned

Published: Sunday, Dec. 1 2013 4:30 p.m. MST

“The survey results that we’re referencing are not that surprising to see that some schools do,” said Matt Lopez, director of admissions at the U. “In my mind’s eye of a fair process, I obviously like the applicant to be aware of what we’re judging them on … and that’s certainly something that not every applicant has, nor would we be able to find every applicant.”

However, future employers and almost a third of admissions officers — more likely at smaller and liberal arts schools — will be looking at applicants’ online footprints, according to Trent Hunsaker, social media marketing coordinator at USU.

“This type of personal branding, whether or not admission might be based on your online footprint, there’s not doubt that a job could be affected by it later on,” Hunsaker said. “I would definitely not have anything on there that they would not happily show their parents.”

Hunsaker quoted the movie “The Social Network” and said the Internet is written in ink — not pencil — and posts will stick with people for a long time.

“It’s a new phenomenon that we’re dealing with because these millennial students have grown up online,” Hunsaker said. “These students have a rich digital history, and it’s a new thing that we haven’t seen or dealt with in the past.”

Rauscher recommends that students keep their profiles devoid of anything obscene or that shows they might be out of control, like photos of them partying or breaking the law. She said colleges don’t want to bring problems to their campuses.

“The thing that students might not be quite as aware about is making these easily disparaging comments that don’t have a lot of thought behind them. … They have to be really careful about that,” she said.

Email: madbrown@deseretnews.com

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