Your Online Reputation Could Threaten Your Ability to Get Into College

• September 23, 2013

Everybody knows that a bad online reputation can threaten a person’s ability to get a job. But did you know that a poor online reputation can also threaten a student’s ability to get into college?

According to CBS, however, college admissions officers are increasingly checking the online footprints of prospective students. 27% report using basic Google searches. 87% check the prospective student’s Facebook page. 76% check the prospective student’s Twitter feed. And 73% look at the student’s You Tube clips.

Many of the same behaviors that threaten job applications threaten college applications, too. Photos of alcohol use, references to drug use, or references to violent behavior can all create black marks on a college application.

Appearing on a mugshot website can certainly be a problem, even though juvenile records are supposed to be sealed and forgotten. Hate speech or participation in “flame wars” may also count as a negative. As with a job search, it is necessary to Google yourself before you start filling out college applications. You’ll need to take a hard look at the information that comes up in your search and work to remove anything detrimental or questionable. You might also want to start creating content that admissions officers would see as a positive, such as blog posts which talk intelligently about your passions, or an online portfolio of your best artistic work. These steps will help most people. However, if you have a more serious problem (such as an online mugshot), then you will most likely need to receive professional help before writing up your applications.

We work to remove mugshots every day, and can get the job done in as little as 24 to 72 hours. We can also help to get other defamatory or negative content removed from the public eye as well. What should you do once you get into the college of your dreams?

Keep right on monitoring your reputation and building up your web presence. Like the degree that you will be pursuing, your web presence will be a vital part of your post-graduate job hunt. It will be stronger and easier to protect if you spend the next four years working hard on it. As college admissions offices get savvier about online footprints you can expect that far more of them will start running comprehensive Google searches on potential applicants, especially very competitive colleges.

Therefore, it might pay to start thinking about your online reputation or your child’s online reputation as early as the freshman year of high school.