Digging up dirt on a prospective student is no difficult task – especially with increasing amounts of information about individuals being put online. Whether you are applying to a new job, college or professional school, you should be extremely cautious about what your online presence says about you.
However, there may be one group of applicants who should heed this warning more than others – prospective law students. According to a Kaplan Test Prep survey, law school admission officers are more likely to research their applicants than business schools and undergraduate institutions. While 20% of college admissions officers, and 27% of business school officers looked up students on the internet – a whopping 41% of law school admissions officers researched prospective students.
Well, maybe the admissions officers understand that one inappropriate status update or a compromising picture can happen to the best of us, right? Think again, 32% of the time, admissions officers found information that negatively impacted the prospective student’s chances of getting in.
There is no law prohibiting researching an applicant online to see if they are a good fit for a particular job or educational institution. It then follows that there is little recourse for applicants who are denied opportunities in this way unless they can prove the denial was based on something beyond the applicant’s control such as race, religion, pregnancy or a disability.
When applying to any educational institution – there are enough variables you can’t control: whether the admissions board will like your personal statement; whether your grades are an anchor or an asset compared to the larger pool of applicants; whether your application stands out from others, etc. So why not try to control the variables you do have power over? Staring with being vigilant about your online existence.