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College Boards Do Facebook Background Checks

It’s Social Networking. What you put on these sites shouldn’t matter, right? Who cares about those bathroom seductive poses? The posts with vulgar language doesn’t mean anything. According to College Administrators it means more than people could imagine.

Eddie Francis, Interim Director of Enrollment Management at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas, believes Facebook and Twitter pages are essential to find out the truth about people. People hold nothing back on Facebook and they may tend to perform in front of an Admissions Board. 

“A kid plastered his Facebook wall with references to Paul Quinn College.  As the head of the Admissions team at PQC, that makes me very happy.  With a student so excited about joining the “Quinnite Nation”, I had to know more.  I read posts from his friends and went through his pictures to see what kind of young man we will be welcoming to campus.  I love what I see.  I didn’t run across one curse word or one picture of him drunk, high, shooting the bird, armed, or naked.  There are references to and pictures of family friends and his beloved high school club.  It looks like he will make a fine Quinnite” Francis explained.
A lot of students are given a chance at these colleges. In many instances their scores and grades breach Admission standards but if an Admissions Board sees potential in the student it is not uncommon for them to make exceptions. Colleges are exhausted with accepting students who make the grade but have poor conduct and no discipline at all.

“Not every student sets him or herself apart like that.  Some do it in the worst way, and the best way to find out is through their social media accounts.  That’s part of what many of us do in college admissions to find out whether or not students who want to attend our respective institutions are the appropriate fit.”
(Above): Dr. Eddie Francis of Paul Quinn College
Many times it’s not even just about conduct but even more so about the student’s character and class. “Students who take the time to carefully craft their images in social media are students who tend to have a sense of pride, dignity, and discretion; and that is exactly what many of us in the college admissions game are looking for,” Francis said.
Selective institutions, for example, are selective for a reason.  These types of institutions want to make sure that the kinds of students who attend will help uphold a healthy image of academic and campus life.  Part of that process is checking students’ social media accounts.  The smaller the college, the higher the scrutiny.  The more exclusive the program, such as scholarship programs, intercollegiate athletics, select academic programs, the more intense the scrutiny will be.  It is all done in the name of making sure students admitted to particular colleges will be contributors or detrimental to the respective environments.
When students are preparing for college it is important they understand, not only is their transcript on exhibition but their whole life is open for observation. It doesn’t matter if a kid makes good grades. College is not interested in a delinquent who will be a distraction for other students on the campus.

Francis says students should ask themselves the following questions in regards to their social media presence: “When I type my name into a search engine, what comes up? If I were a college president, looking for the best of the best, would my social media presence send a message that I am among the best? Do I want my family to see what I post online? Do I criticize my friends for posting objectionable content? How hard am I willing to compete for the attention that those with positive profiles earn? If I owned a business, would I hire people who post objectionable content online? Do I have people who could get me in trouble on my friends list(s)? How can I use my social media profile(s) to promote myself?”
Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace are sites that most people check throughout the day. Facebook, especially, is not a youth tool anymore. Parents, Grandparents, Attorneys, Pastors, Judges, and even College Professors are on Facebook. At any moment they have access to student’s entire life.
Francis explains, “social media management is image management.  Aside from an admissions interview, it paints the best picture that a college admissions representative has of a student.”
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