Kaplan Survey Shows Many College Applicants Consider Admissions Officers Fair Game for Facebook Friend Requests
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Over 70% of Admissions Officers at America`s Top Colleges Report Applicants Have Requested Them or an Admissions Office Colleague as a "Friend" on Facebook or MySpace NEW YORK--(Business Wire)-- College freshmen are usually eager to make new friends once on campus, but it seems many prospective freshmen are starting that process early by trying to become "friendly" with the very people who will decide whether they become freshmen at all. According to a new Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions survey* of college admissions officers at 401 of the nation`s top colleges and universities, 71% say that they or another admissions officer at their school have received a Facebook or MySpace "friend request" from an applicant. "Social networking has blurred previously-held boundaries, especially among those who have grown with these outlets," said Jeff Olson, executive director of research, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. "We understand that college applicants these days are seeking any competitive edge they can, so may think 'friending' college admissions officers on Facebook will help them. But students need to be smart about how they use social networking sites. The reality is that at least for now, only a small number of college admissions officers actually visit applicants` social networking sites and these visits may not always benefit the applicant." Currently, college applicants` Facebook profiles are not even a factor among the vast majority of college admissions officers; only about one in ten have ever looked at an applicant`s profile. However, some college admissions officers have begun to see value in accepting Facebook friend requests. Admissions officers at Hofstra University in NY proactively invite interested students to send them friend requests at Facebook accounts specifically created for each admissions officer to interact with applicants. "My stance on this actually changed last year," said Jeannine C. Lalonde, Senior Assistant Dean of Admission at the University of Virginia. "I set up a Facebook account for the applicants to ask questions and interact with each other. I posted a message early on saying that I wasn't going to accept friend requests because I didn't want to see their feeds (stream of status updates that tell your friends what you are up to). A student pointed out that she wanted my updates in her feed because I had tied my blog and Twitter accounts to my Facebook account. Being my friend allowed her to monitor what I was writing on those other sites. That's when I decided to accept friend requests." Regardless of their approach, colleges and universities are slowly beginning to recognize the impact of social networking in the admissions process, with 21 percent of schools reporting they are developing relevant policies - up from 16 percent last year. Thirteen percent reported already having policies in place, up slightly from 10 percent last year. Kaplan asked the same question in similar surveys of admissions officers at business, law and medical schools, with varying results. Admissions officers at 50 percent of business schools, 48 percent of law schools and 31 percent of medical schools reported having an applicant send them or a fellow admissions officer at their school a "friend request." The results are part of Kaplan's sixth annual college admissions officers survey. Kaplan has been surveying admissions officers from the nation's top colleges and universities on topical issues since 2004, in an effort to ensure that students receive accurate insight on key trends and issues to help guide them through the admissions process. Kaplan also conducts similar surveys among admissions officers at law, medical and business schools on admissions topics relevant to pre-law, pre-med, and pre-MBA students. *About the survey methodology: for the 2009 survey, 401 admissions officers from the nation`s top 500 schools - as compiled from U.S. News & World Report`s Ultimate College Guide and Barron`s Profiles of American Colleges - were surveyed by telephone between July and August 2009. About Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions (www.kaptest.com), a division of Kaplan, Inc., is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings and a complete array of books and software, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as English language and professional licensing exams. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and college and graduate admissions consulting services. Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions Russell Schaffer, 212-453-7538 firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright Business Wire 2009
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