ALERT: 1 In 4 MBA Admissions Offices Probe Facebook

More than one out of every five graduate business school admissions offices visit applicants' social networking accounts to learn more about them.

More than one out of every five graduate business school admissions offices visit applicants’ social networking accounts to learn more about them.

And 14 percent of those who do such research have said they’ve discovered things about a prospective student that negatively impacted their candidacy.

These revelations were nestled in Kaplan Test Prep’s latest annual survey of 265 graduate business school admissions offices.

While this study hardly focused on social media, questions about the topic drew some alarming responses. For instance:

  • 27 percent of admissions officers have Googled an applicant to learn more about him or her;
  • 22 percent said they visited an applicant’s Facebook page or other social networking profile for the same reason.

While social media content can have a negative impact on an applicant’s candidacy, it’s not enough on its own to make or break an admission. The biggest application killers, according to Kaplan, are:

  • A low admissions exam score, 58 percent;
  • A low undergraduate grade point average, 24 percent; and
  • Lack of relevant work experience, 12 percent.

Graduate business schools seem to have the most conservative stances on social media out of any type of academic admissions offices, and presumably reflect trends among prospective employers. Applicants ought to think of all this as a dress rehearsal for a job search.

Not using the privacy settings on Facebook can have repercussions on one’s career and academic pursuits — but unfortunately many people will interpret findings like Kaplan’s as a reason to censor themselves altogether rather than make use of the ample privacy options that can keep prospective employers and schools from finding posts, photos and other potentially sensitive material.

Readers, what do you think of these findings from Kaplan?