The Los Angeles Times reports on a new study (pdf) from the National Association for College Admission Counseling, which finds, “about a quarter of U.S. colleges reported doing some research about applicants on social networking sites or through Internet search engines. The study, which included 10 California colleges, did not specify which schools acknowledged the practice or how often scholarships or enrollment offers might be nixed because of online postings.” This isn’t a surprise; I have blogged before about how colleges and graduate schools have been gathering data about applicants via Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking sites.
The group noted other findings about the use of social networking sites by universities:
More than half (53 percent) of colleges monitor social media for “buzz” about their institution.
A majority of colleges maintain a presence in social media, as 33 percent of colleges maintain a blog, 29 maintain a presence on social networking Web sites, 27 percent maintain message- or bulletin-boards, 19 percent employ video blogging, and 14 percent issue podcasts. Thirty-nine percent of colleges reported using no social media technology.
Eighty-eight percent of admission offices believed social media were either “somewhat” or “very” important to their future recruitment efforts.