Extended: Colleges check Facebook

Sari Soffer ('10)/Eastside News/Features Editor

Although frantic seniors applying to college often censor – or altogether delete – their Facebook pages, admissions representatives at private universities admit that their colleges do not inspect applicants’ personal web pages.

According to admissions officers at University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh University, University of Delaware, Lafayette College, Bucknell University, Ursinus College, Yale University, Montclair State University, and Cornell University, students can be assured that no one examines Facebooks during application season or at any other time in the application/acceptance process.

Although it is inaccurate to claim that Facebook checks never occur during college applications, Mr. Chuck Bachman, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Lafayette College, explains that there are circumstances where such a situation may transpire: “If as part of a student’s application they invite us to visit their site, the individual admission officer may choose to do so, but that is somewhat rare.”

Mr. Louis Hirsh, Director of Admissions at University of Delaware, describes another one of the “rare” situation in which college admissions officers may review a Facebook page.

“When we have had reason to suspect that there might be something disquieting on a Facebook page, however, then we have taken a look at Facebook and Googled the student,” wrote Hirsh.

However, most college admissions officers, busy with all of the reading, do not even consider reading web pages.

“First of all, [at Cornell], we don’t really think that that’s a good idea … [and] we wouldn’t really have time to start snooping around the internet,” said Mr. Kyle Downey, Admissions Officer at Cornell University.

Many admissions officers note that there is barely enough time to fit in all of the application studying, leaving no time to insert the additional task of studying web pages.

“To be honest, we don’t have time … The bottom line is, at least here at Lafayette, the admission officers are reading applications seven days a week, we don’t have the time to be surfing Facebook,” said Bachman.

Students often claim to hear or read that colleges publicize the fact that they assess web pages, though most of the colleges spoken to deny this fact.

Mr. James Shaynak, Senior Associate Director at the Office of Admissions of Bucknell University, wrote, “It is not [even] addressed in our print materials because it is not a part of our official admissions process.”

With this information revealed from a variety of colleges, students can now relax, as they are free from the online intrusion that many students believe to be true.

Said Hirsh, “My advice to students, therefore, would be this: don’t put anything on a publicly accessible site that would make you uncomfortable if it were viewed by your parents, your teachers, or a college admissions committee.”