College applicants beware, clean up your Facebook & Twitter - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

College applicants beware, clean up your Facebook & Twitter

Posted: Updated:

SEARCY (KATV) - Social media continues to become more commonplace in everyday life.  But now a warning from a national survey of college admissions counselors; the things you post on Facebook and Twitter might get you rejected from the college of your choice.

A Kaplan Test Prep study found that 31% of college admissions counselors are checking out potential students' social media pages, trying to learn more about them.

Out of eight public and private universities surveyed by Channel 7 here in Arkansas, most claimed that wasn't a part of the application process.  However at Harding University in Searcy, social media sites are fair game.

"Out of the thousands of applications we receive, we don't look at every student's Facebook page or read their Twitter," said Glenn Dillard, assistant vice-president of enrollment at Harding University.  "But if we read in a reference that there may be something questionable we will."

Dillard said questionable behavior includes everything from illicit activities, racial bigotry, bullying, to sexual immorality.  He said predominantly it's Harding's stance as a faith-based school that has them checking out their potential students.

"Harding is at our core, a Christian University," said Dillard.  "We're wanting students who will uphold that Christian standard that we've set forth for our students."

But at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock they claim social media is not something they're looking at.  With more than 12,000 students on campus, they said it's just something they don't have the time to do.

"That would be a big job for an institution," said Dean Kahler, chancellor for enrollment management at UALR.  "We've got a lot of other things that we can do that are a lot more positive than go after students for social media things that they may be posting."

However Kahler said it's not to say he doesn't warn his students and prospective applicants.  He said keeping social media clean especially applies to college graduates applying for jobs.

"Whatever decisions you make, just be aware of the consequences that could possibly be associated with that," said Kahler.

Representatives from admissions departments at the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkansas Technical University, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Henderson State University all said that checking social media pages of applicants is not part of their application process. 

Suzanne McCray, dean of admissions at the U of A Fayetteville, said they would only check out a Facebook or Twitter account if they received information that would require them to do so.  Lori Motl, director of admission at OBU said they would only check out social media sites for housing requests and potentially when it comes to placing someone in a leadership position at the University.