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A Closer Look

Since 2010, more than 1.37 billion people have created social media accounts and it is predicted that by 2020 another 0.61 billion will create their own, according to Statista.

According to a survey done by IvyWise, 27 percent of college admission officials around the country have looked at an applicant’s social media. Of those officials, 35 percent found something that negatively impacted an applicant’s chance of getting into the school in question.

“As social media has skyrocketed from being the domain of the younger generation to societal ubiquity, the perceived taboo of admissions officers checking applicants online has diminished,” said vice president of Kaplan Test Prep, Seppy Basili.

Kaplan Test Prep has been surveying students who have taken their tests for the past three years.

In a day and age when social media changes constantly, the future of social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram could potentially play a significant role in the lives of students, whether it be college related or not.

Stanford University student Aishwarya Vardhana recently helped create an application called Verbatm to spread awareness of different aspects of our society and showcase different world views. One of the issues that first led to the creation of Verbatm were the riots in Venezuela two years ago. When Vardhana and her peers saw how little was being done to spread the word about it, they decided to create a medium where both creators and consumers could tell their stories and express their opinions, Vardhana said.

“Verbatm was created to help promote discussion over world issues, a way for us to be activists and tell our own stories as they happen,” Vardhana said.

At the beginning of the school year, Vardhana reached out to a multitude of PHS clubs and groups, including the Feminist Club and the dance class, to promote Verbatm and introduce students to coding as a form of self expression.

“I wanted to show people that if you don’t have a platform on which to share your ideas and stories, there is nothing stopping you from making your own,” Vardhana said.scan-copy

While colleges do not have to look into students’ online presence, those that do tell students to feel free to post whatever they want, as long as it is not lewd or illegal, Caroline Knorr of Common Sense Media said, who, just two months ago, investigated the potential impact a social media profile can have on a student’s chances of getting into college.

While the instances of social media playing a larger role in admission have increased, many students and admissions counselors are still unconcerned with it.  Brandon LeJeune has been an admissions counselor at the University of Oregon for three months, and in that time, he has not been faced with the question of whether or not to check a student’s social media accounts.

“As far as I know it is not part of the process here. We don’t look at legacy, financial situations, or anything like that, just the application,” LeJeune said.