I just returned from the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admissions Counseling conference (PCACAC – yes, you sound a like chicken pronouncing the acronym). That’s the regional branch, covering DC, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia, of the national group (NACAC) that came out today with a study saying that colleges are increasingly using social networking (duh) and that they are increasingly using search engines to check up on applicants. While NACAC had 26% percent of respondents say they were using search engines, they didn’t have anyone report they were doing so routinely, and some said specifically it was only to check on high profile scholarship applicants and other select students.
While NACAC was conducting a survey of some schools, also known as, “university admissions staff with so much time on their hands they can idly surf the net while reviewing applications,” back here on planet earth I listened in on a well attended session led by folks from Zinch on university use of technology in the recruitment and admissions process. Unlike NACAC, Zinch’s survey of some colleges and universities, also known as, “really hard working schools, although not working so hard they can’t find time to fill out a lengthy survey from a vendor,” found that no schools were reviewing social networking sites/using search engines in the admissions process.
I’ve written before that I think it’s pretty unlikely schools are doing much of this, and I think schools that do are a) risking liability, or at the very least foolishness, since they have no idea of the veracity of the information that might be found and b) pretty creepy. Add to that that most of the admissions officers in the session I attended seemed pretty clueless about web use and very nervous about using those new fangled computer things to try to get around that fad they keep hearing about, “the internet.”
At they same time many of them seem very excited to be using twitter. I suspect this is because a) twitter trends to a much older demographic and b) they like saying, “I tweeted”. I tweeted regularly during the conference, which gives you an idea of how entirely engaged in the proceedings one had to be to follow the rapid fire dialogue.
Mostly admissions officers whined that you (being students and parents) were getting your information from various nefarious places on “the web”. They cited college confidential and wikipedia as the virtual street corners where you all are getting much misinformation. I want to state unequivocal support for these sentiments as I feel strongly that you should only get your misinformation from the source, our own university websites, which have been lovingly crafted to be nearly unnavigable and filled with exactly the information you tend not to be seeking. Be seeing you.
Filed under: Admissions, Applications, College, College Admissions, College Search Process, Education, Family, Life, University | Tagged: Admissions, College, Education, Facebook, Life, technology, University | 5 Comments »