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What Appears Online May Kill Your Chances of Getting Into College

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Tue, May 8, 2012 @ 12:48 PM



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For some time now we have all  been warned that what is posted to any social network could have potential career repercussions in the future.  Now it appears it is not only job opportunities, it can also affect a student's chances of getting into college or receiving a scholarship.  So, in response many people have made taken steps to make their accounts private with only selected friends being able to access their posts. 

Well, that preventive measure may not be enough these days.

A recent report from MSNBC's Red Tape Chronicles blog states that student-athletes at colleges around the country are being asked to "friend" a school official, giving them access to posts meant for friends only. 

Similarly, some employers are asking job applicants to logon to their accounts during the interview.  This is nothing new as a 2009 survey commissioned by Microsoft, 70% of U.S. job recruiters said they have rejected candidates based on information they found online.

Facebook doesn’t support this invasive practice and spokesperson Frederic Wolens said many such school and employer policies appear to violate the site's terms.  "Under our terms, only the holder of the email address and password is considered the Facebook account owner. We also prohibit anyone from soliciting the login information or accessing an account belonging to someone else," quoted him as saying.

Another story from The San Francisco Chronicle, reported that scholarship providers are going to Facebook and other social media sites to help vet applicants.

The Chronicle stated that about 75% of scholarship providers said they are on the lookout for behavior that could reflect badly on the provider.   This was based on a survey conducted by FastWeb and the National Scholarship Providers Association.

A picture of your student partying could cost you a college scholarship

Be careful not to allow pictures from high school parties where the student is being seen drinking or acting wildly to appear on the web.  It is very easy for friends to “tag” a picture and then have these appear on the web.

It is not just Facebook

About one-fourth of scholarship providers who responded to the survey said they use sites such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter to check out applicants, primarily just finalists.

Here are more details from the survey:

  • Approximately 3/4s of respondents are looking for behavior that could reflect badly on the scholarship provider, such as underage drinking, provocative pictures, illegal drug use or racial slurs.

  • Another 1/4 of the respondents wanted to verify information on the application.

  •  About 1/2 of the respondents wanted to know the applicant better or were looking for positive traits such as creativity or good communication skills.

  • 1/3 of the respondents have denied an applicant a scholarship, and a quarter have granted an applicant a scholarship, because of something they found online.

 Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and stated, “none of the providers were doing real extensive research or background checks on applicants," he says. "They are looking for red flags."

Online searches are on the rise

Although fewer than 10 of the survey respondents claimed they have denied a scholarship based on their online sleuthing, the practice could become more common and will increase according to industry trends.

What Parents and Students Can Do

As we have seen the odds of losing a scholarship are relatively low.  However, it is now time to manage your online reputation before your student needs to apply for a scholarship or a job.  Here are some steps you should take immediately:

  • Google your student’s name. Look for inappropriate material in the first 10 pages of search results. Correct any problems, if possible, by editing the content of the pages, not simply deleting them.

  • Make sure your student always uses an appropriate e-mail address.   Some students have email addresses that may be funny or lack maturity.

  • Make sure you student is avoiding using profanity on any posts.

  • Remove any inappropriate comments or post made by others on your student’s Facebook wall

  • Check Google Images for pictures of your student that may raise red flags

Many of these suggestions can be done easily.  At times, you may find some information that may be harmful and not easily removed.  When this occurs consider working with an online reputation management company such as www.zoomlocalsearch.comcan help overcome those problems.  Companies such as these can guide you through an online reputation clean up.

The bottom line here is the need for parents and students who plan to apply for college must be proactive.  There is no reason why any student should find themselves being questioned by what is found online.  The reason why online reputation is so important is the real possibility schools and scholarship providers are looking at whether the individual has good sense and will reflect well on their organization.

This is just a sample of the many tips and strategies that I share at my college planning ABC workshops.  Allow me to extend a personal invitation to check out the next workshop.

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Tags: scholarships, strategies for college, college planning, College Admissions, College Enrollment, online reputation

UC Admissions for California Residents Just Got Harder

Posted by Manuel Fabriquer on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 @ 12:32 PM


For some time I have been telling my clients how the competition to get into one of the UC Berkely libraryUniversity of California campuses would be get harder due to the state budget cuts.   Now this fact is being fully disclosed by university officials.

Let me take a moment and explain why this is the case.   Simply put, out of state and international students pay more.   

Now university officials have publicly admitted that 23% of those students admitted this year were out of state and international students who pay nearly three times more than California residents to attend

So you can understand  how  the UC system is now looking towards out of state and international students to help bridge the financial gap left by recent budget cuts.

Although the UC system accepted a record 80,289 freshmen there was a decrease of 4% of California residents that were accepted.  The university further stated that competition keeps getting stiffer for California residents stating that the admission rate for California residents dropped from 69.7% last year to 65.8% this year.

What Does this All Mean?

It is obvious that this trend will only increase in the years to come. The UC system will continue to increase the number of out of state and international students they accept.   We all understand the state’s budget problems are nowhere near being solved, and this means there will be additional budget cuts affecting all sectors of the state in the years to come.

One thing is for sure, parents and students cannot simply expect to apply and be accepted.  Those days are long gone.  Today, it is extremely important that your student have a plan and a proven strategy for applying to these universities.  There are a host of small, but very important issues that every student applying must know.  Many of these strategies are not known by the average college counselor.  So, it is important that your arm with the latest and most accurate information before applying.

Let me help you by inviting you to attend our next FREE college planning workshop.  At this college planning workshop I will cover many key items you need to know to give you the advantage when applying to a top university.  

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Tags: Undergraduate, UC, California Residents, college applications, College Admissions, College Enrollment, University of California