I’ve written before about how data from social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, are being used against applicants to colleges and graduate schools. Now, the New York Times reports that some college applicants are using pseudonyms to avoid linking their online musings to their offline lives.
For high school students concerned with college acceptance, Facebook presents a challenge. It encourages making public every thought and every photo, an opportunity for posturing and bravado nearly irresistible to teenagers.
But this impulse for display clashes with the need to appear circumspect and presentable to college admissions agents, who some high school guidance counselors have warned are likely vetting applicants by trolling the Web. […]
Charlotte Kaye, who went to the Brearley School in Manhattan, did not take any chances. To avoid detection, Ms. Kaye, now a freshman at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, said she and others began changing their names on Facebook beginning in their junior year of high school.
New spellings are standard: Amy is now Aim E, and Ms. Kaye became Charlotte K. A nickname will also do. At the Ramaz School in Manhattan, Amanda Uziel changed her Facebook name to Uzi Shmuzi. Puns and wordplay are held in higher esteem. […]
Kwame Kruw Ocran, a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School, thinks hiding behind a pseudonym isn’t safe enough. He held a cleanse week last summer, where via Facebook he encouraged more than 1,000 of his fellow students to remove anything incriminating from their online profiles before applying to colleges.