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Social media playing increased role in college admissions

One poll revealed that over half of college admission boards have looked at a student's social media profiles before admitting them / Evan Watson (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- Monday is College Decision Day for high school seniors so many of them will pick where they'll head in the fall.

However, some colleges and universities could have already made their decisions on some applicants based on social media.

Ramon Blakley, Director of Admissions at Georgia College, said most schools don't actively monitor an applicant's profiles, but that doesn't mean they can't.

"So students should be concerned about what their online presence says about them, because you never know who's going to be looking," Blakley said.

Blakley thinks the number of schools who look at sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will continue to rise.

That can be trouble if someone is living a double life.

"Judging a person based off their social media isn't right because a lot of people have a facade that they put on for the internet," said Westside High student Danielle Tate.

Blakley said it's important for high school students to be clean and smart about their social media posts.

Many high school students already know that what they post online is far from private.

"Take heed to the fact that they can if they wanted to and they can if they needed to," said student Khadeeja Inman. "You should always be conscious of that."

It also extends beyond college.

"But then also think about the fact the potential employers could be looking also," Blakley said.

Julie Fisher, founder of The Social U, said their software acts like an audit for online profiles.

"So what The Social U is able to do is give the objective point of view and point out any post that has the potential to cause you problems," Fisher said.

Fisher said she's seen several instances where students were denied admission in to a college or university because of social media. Several athletes have been passed on for scholarships because a coach saw a tweet that worried him or her.

"I don't really get on it as much anymore," said student-athlete Trey Foster. "When you have to watch what you say you kind of just stop using it as much. I only post things with significance, that you can't take out of context because if you can take it out of context then you don't really need to post it."

Fisher said she knew of one instance when a person was not admitted because officials were shown screen shots of the student cyberbullying another person.

For some, the easiest solution is to keep everything PG rated.

"My Facebook is mostly full of like, family pictures and my dog and things like that," Tate said. "But I've always been conscious of what I post because I know someone would be looking at this in the future."

Fisher said her organization polled hundreds of admissions offices and more than half said they do check students' social media profiles at some point. That may not be for every students, but she said you shouldn't leave to to chance.

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