Colleges Are Looking at Student Social Media in Unexpected Ways

Last summer, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) commissioned a survey on "Social Media Monitoring and the Admissions Process." The survey results are eye-opening and should impact the way all students approach their college prep activities.

Collectively, almost three-quarters of colleges and universities either monitor social media as part of the admissions decision making or will review social media brought to their attention.

Does Your Institution Monitor Social Media at any Stage of the Admissions Decision Process?

Other Key Findings

  1. One-quarter of colleges do so “regularly and routinely.”
  2. Private, not-for-profit institutions are more likely than other types to do so.
  3. Forty-one percent (41%) will review social media content if brought to the attention of the institution.
  4. Twelve (12%) percent of those who do not monitor social media as part of the admissions process are considering doing so.

The AACRAO sent the survey to admissions officers, enrollment managers, and financial officers. The results show how different departments with different priorities approach social media differently. "We received more than one response from a few dozen institutions. That data appears to identify a general misunderstanding as to whether or not social media is monitored or considered during the admissions process. In these instances, one respondent would indicate that the institution does not monitor social media where another respondent from the same institution indicated that the institution does, in fact, monitor social media. This mismatch in responses existed across departments (e.g., between the registrar’s office and the admissions office) and within enrollment management (e.g., between the director of admissions and vice president of enrollment management)." 

At What Stage, or Stages, of the Admissions Decision Process Do You Monitor Social Media? 

  1. At the Prospect Stage: This result shows that colleges are looking at social media to target defined students as marketing targets.
  2. Upon Receipt of a Complete Application: This result supports the notion that colleges have been and will continue to assess student social media in connection with their acceptance decisions.
  3. Once an Admissions Decision Has Been Made: This result indicates that colleges are also using social media to assess demonstrated interest for enrollment yield as well as considering social media activities as part of their merit aid decisions.
  4. Once an Offer of Admissions Has Been Accepted: This result shows that many colleges are monitoring accepted student social media activities on college social media platforms.

The following guidance is offered based on these survey results. 

Social AssurityComment