Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

Summary: Colleges and universities are refusing to accept students; not only based on your high school grades, transcripts or personal statements, but based on their Facebook profile.

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It has been reported today that some colleges and universities are refusing to accept students; not only based on your high school grades, transcripts or personal statements, but based on their Facebook profile.

It's one of those things you think you already knew, but never quite believed.

But one student drew the short straw, when a letter sent to her described how her acceptance was refused, based on the findings of an independent consulting firm that gathered  information from her Facebook profile.

College application denied

Colleges are allegedly using a firm named 'Academic Profiling Facebook Lifestyles', based in Kansas, to assess a prospective students' lifestyle choices and misjudgments; all of which are often subjectively assessed based on the thorough 'documented evidence' the younger generational users often put up on the site.

The profilers supposedly act as friends and add themselves to prospective students' friends list, and once accepted have full access to their profile. One of the reasons for this is to "see that students admitted to their school speak intelligently outside of the classroom, as well as within it".

But with increased competition for scholarships for lesser socioeconomically viable students, the need for the brightest and smartest is necessary to vet out the weaker students from the more academically minded.

Yet, this is not the way to go about it. It's unethical, and nothing short of spying. It's a deplorable act of invasion of one's privacy.

But ultimately, students are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Would you want to go to a university which spied on you? Maybe not, but arguably, if it's Harvard, Yale, Oxford or Cambridge, leaving with a degree from one of these institutions could set one up for life.

Students who are quite literally one-hundred percent dedicated to their college work, cannot be considered 'true' students. College is about meeting people, having fun, socialization and questioning, finding values you never thought you had, and politicization. It isn't simply about the work, though it should of course be a priority.

One wise soul once told me, "university is the place you meet your future husband or wife, or both".

A degree is a degree, but it is once again a reminder to all those part of the younger generation. Once you put something online, you can never take it down again.

Colleges should seriously re-think this policy on 'vetting' students in this way. Surely character is just as important as knowledge and the ability to apply oneself?

I agree, as I'm sure many others will, that vetting a prospective student for an academic programme is important, to ensure that money and resources are not being wasted on someone, as students are ultimately an investment for the university that teach them. But surely an entry test or some form of written exam is far more appropriate - even psychometric tests - are better than the direct invasion of one's private life?

Should colleges spy on their prospective students? Have your say!

Editor's note: Before any readers close their Facebook accounts, please be assured that Zack is only kidding. Some bloggers simply can't resist the lure of April Fools.

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17 comments
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  • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

    seems the playing field is a little tilted, if I cannot likewise examine a school's faculty performance statistics - technical vitality, publishing, pass/fail and graduate rates, etc..... just saying..
    mmaslack
  • Let's look at some numbers

    The average college freshman has about a 53% chance of graduating from school. Yeah, almost half of them flunk out.

    The ones that flunk out? They're the ones that can't balance being on their own with academic rigor. They're going to college to be acculturated, politicized, get drunk, get high, get laid, get hooked on video games, etc.

    Not all schools have the same graduation rate - but it's not hard to find colleges with graduation rates of under 30-40%.

    First, those graduation rates should be publicly posted and part of the annual reports on best colleges.

    Second, most students should NOT go to college right out of high school. They should take two years off, working a 'dead end' job, living on their own, so they can get used to doing their laundry, cooking their own meals, and can experiment with sex, pot and booze on their own dime, rather than while racking up $8k/semester (or more - much more!) in student loans. Do it for two years, figure out what makes you happy, find out if there's a way to earn a living at something you enjoy, or at least don't detest. Then go to a Junior College for your first two years (where it's cheaper...) get your scut-work classes out of the way, and transfer to a four year school to finish off.

    Explain on your resume that you decided to segregate your dumb teenage drinking years from your professional certification years, and I guarantee that that'll score points on your interview process.

    Colleges have every right to look at what those kids put on their Facebook pages, compare them to information that drop outs put on their pages, and work from there. This isn't spying. This is using information that's put out there in public to try and raise the graduation rates at the university by keeping those who want to party hard out of school and not disrupting the students who are there - to learn.
    Ad Astra
    • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

      @Ad Astra
      With all due respect, that's Bull$hit. My views are my own, and can be separate from my studies. I was informed to go to college right out of high school, but to start at a community college so I didn't get bombarded with daunting work, and you know what? it worked. What I put on facebook, or the internet anywhere else is out there for someone who is able to see, but that doesn't mean that I should lose out on an education from a good school because the administration is a bunch of narrow minded bigots who think they are better than me. If my grades are good enough and I pass an SAT where applicable, I have ta right to get into the college if I can pay the tuition or get supplementary financial help. Bad graduation rates are a result of students not doing what they need to, not necessarily the entry practices of the school. They need to get a lawsuit dropped on them and we'll see how many schools pull that crap
      KBot
    • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

      @Ad Astra

      "Second, most students should NOT go to college right out of high school. They should take two years off, working a 'dead end' job, living on their own, so they can get used to doing their laundry, cooking their own meals, and can experiment with sex, pot and booze on their own dime ..."

      The good-looking ones could probably earn a great living in the sex trades, but I don't think that kind of experience will help them get a better college education.
      terry flores
  • But Zack...

    one thing that I would hope you agree with is there has been a sharp decline in today's youth learning the simple life lesson of: for anything you do or say, there usually will be a consequence... <i>particularly</i> when it comes to FB.<br><br>Now, regardless of what settings someone uses, or how someone can <i>try</i> to argue how it should be private; I'm confused at the disconnect people have in understanding that what they post online is in fact <b>not</b> private, and as you pointed out, is forever.<br><br>Farmtown? emoticons? yeah, Universities looking at that is a little extreme. But, as the original article pointed out, Franklin Roberts was specific in naming the reason they were revoking admittance was due to content in her Facebook page.<br><br>I'm wondering what exactly they saw/found. I'm inclined to think that because they were that open about why they were denying, whatever was in there was of enough substance for their decision to have merit?<br><br>Ironic though, that something originally intended solely for college kids is now keeping them out of college.
    UrNotPayingAttention
    • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

      @chmod 777 April Fools...
      zwhittaker
      • You cheeky.... Well played, Sir! ;)

        @zwhittaker <br><br>hmmm, the girl's name was April, shoulda seen that one coming...<br><br>oh, and: "The APFL is gathering data from the Facebooks of kids as young as <b>12</b> and 13 years old."<br><br>Dead giveaway. (heh, not to mention the article links to APFL)
        UrNotPayingAttention
  • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

    What a bunch of crud.
    james347
  • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

    What happens to good solid written references by family, religeous advisor, past employer, teachers etc. Getting an inferred and interpreted character references from FB is a joke but then those who (publicly) post crap about themselves and their friends must take responsibility for that crap.
    Bradish@...
  • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

    I'm still confused as to whether or not this is an actual news article or a joke but in any case, while the prospective students need to take responsibility for what they say, like everyone else, in the case of gaining an education the school has no right to allow their opinion to keep them out of school unless their facebook posts or any communications otherwise show behavior that could put other students at risk. If FB didn't show that than those students, if this is indeed not an April fools joke, should slap a lawsuit on the school. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right.
    KBot
    • Would you want somebody who is ...

      @KBot ... constantly bragging about criminal behavior in the same floor where you live?

      Why should good colleges miss the chance to screen out bad apples before they become a liability for them and the rest of the students?
      wackoae
      • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

        @wackoae

        What constitutes a bad apple? Unless I am blatently placing obscenity on the internet or in some form of public communications, no School should have the right to deny me an education. I'm not saying that a school shouldn't screen their prospective students, but there needs to be limits as to what they can do. If i post on facebook a hitlist, (as apparently some moron did a while back), then damn straight, I should be investigated by the cops and not allowed in, or removed from a school or university, but if I post how great it was to get blasted out of my mind with my friends while getting lap dances all night, that's none of the school's concern, especially if I'm pulling a 3.0 or higher GPA out of highschool
        KBot
    • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

      @KBot It's a joke. But, you're right - this article should serve as a warning to those spraying their Facebook in personal information and suchlike.
      zwhittaker
  • Well, why not?

    I realize it's an April Fools joke, but it's not particularly far-fetched.

    People endanger their jobs because they publish their stupidity on Facebook for all the world to see, so why shouldn't it impact their education? I can well imagine somebody at Harward or Oxford looking up a prospective student and think "Forget it, there's no hope for this one."

    I love Facebook. It really brings out the stupid in people.
    Ronny102
    • RE: Your Facebook activity could keep you out of college

      @Ronny102

      you're right, but there are two fundemental differences between an education and a job. I am guaranteed an education in America, that's what public schooling is for. Secondly, my behavior in public is reflected more on a business than a school. This is especially true if my job requires me to be in a spotlight, so their credibility as a business can be put into question. With a university, A. I'm one of very many students and B. A college student is pretty much assumed to do stupid stuff at that age, whether or not he/she actually does.
      KBot
  • Since When Is Facebook Private !!!

    Facebook is a public forum. That has been the case since it's inception. Acting a fool on Facebook, is no different than acting a fool on a public corner. Would you admit a student with that little self control. Be honest with yourself, accept responsibility for your own actions and behavior. If we continue bottle feeding our kids we will fall further behind.
    sadmglw
  • I wish colleges *would* put that much effort into screening applicants

    It might help raise graduation rates and the quality of graduates at all levels. But we are fast approaching the point where the main criteria will be the ability to pay the tuition, nothing more or less.
    terry flores