1 In 3 Law Schools Eye Applicants’ Facebook Profiles

Kaplan Test Prep reported that 37 percent of admissions officers at the top law schools across the United States have examined the Facebook pages or other social media pages of applicants.

First, the folks at Kaplan Test Prep warned law school students of illegal content on their Facebook pages.

Then, Kaplan turned its attention to applicants to graduate schools, warning them that 65 percent of admissions officers who responded felt that using social networks, including Facebook, to reach out to those institutions would be inappropriate.

Next up on Kaplan’s list: Undergraduate admissions officers, with the educational services provider reporting that 24 percent of them had probed applicants’ social media accounts.

Now, Kaplan is back to law school, reporting that 37 percent of admissions officers at the top law schools across the United States have examined the Facebook pages or other social media pages of applicants.

Do you sense a pattern here?

Kaplan also found that 32 percent of admissions officers who admitted to fishing around applicants’ social networking pages found “something that negatively impacted an applicant’s admissions chances.”

Comparing the law school results with those of other institutions, Kaplan said just 24 percent of college admissions officers and 22 percent of business school admissions officers have explored applicants’ Facebook pages.

When it comes to discovering something that had a negative impact, the numbers were just 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Why are law schools more thorough? Kaplan Director of Pre-Law Programs Jeff Thomas said:

These findings make sense in context with what we consistently hear from law school admissions officers, which is that while admissions are based on high LSAT scores, strong GPAs, and compelling personal statements, an overarching theme to the entire application is whether an applicant is able to exercise good judgment. Clearly, an applicant’s digital trail can be an indicator of whether or not he or she possesses this quality.

Despite jokes and negative stereotyping of lawyers, the reality is that the legal community takes ethics among its members very seriously. You not only have to be accepted to a state bar to practice law, but once you are admitted, unethical behavior can lead to your disbarment, stripping you of your ability to practice. Not many other professions have that kind of enforceable code of conduct, so it’s natural that law schools screen more stringently and more often.

Bottom line: What Kaplan is trying to say is that whether applying to college, graduate school, law school, business school, beauty school, or the school of hard knocks, mind the content of your pages on Facebook and other social networks, and take advantage of privacy controls. To reinforce the message, here is its list of 10 Ways to Manage Your Social Media Footprint. Now don’t make Kaplan tell you again.