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Think your GPA is high: How are your tweets?
By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas - Monay Chavez, a senior at Hanks High School, is busy this month applying to universities all over the country.
"I applied to Texas Tech and Texas A&M, Chavez said. "I really want to go to Boston College. That's my dream school."
Chavez's application is in, but there is one more part of the application process she has to work on.
"Actually a couple of weeks ago, I tweeted that I actually enjoyed applying to colleges," Chavez said.
Chavez is making sure her Twitter account is presentable, just in case Boston College gives her Twitter a glance.
"I'm always very cautious about not posting anything bad," Chavez said.
Chavez is not alone.
A Kaplan questionnaire reveals that this year more than 30 percent of colleges and universities had visited an applicant's social media page to learn more about them. That is a 5 percent increase from last year.
Some of the applicant's social media pages they checked out include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Thirty percent of the admissions officers surveyed said they found something online that negatively impacted an applicant's prospects.
"I believe that when it comes down to one spot left in a prestigious college they have the exact same GPA, exact same SAT score, the same rating on an essay why not look at Facebook and see what kind of a student they are in inviting to come to their school?" said Laura Torres, a high school counselor at Hanks High School in East El Paso.
Torres urges students to refrain from posting any inappropriate pictures and statuses.
"Instead of posting pictures that can be inappropriate, post pictures of your community service projects," Torres said. "Put your best foot forward."
Counselors also said students should start posting positive comments about their college of interest.
For instance, students should "like" the university Facebook pages and start conversations on-line about how to get in.
In addition, counselors are asking students to Google themselves because they might be surprised what comes up.
Senior Savannah Gregory at Hanks High School said she has even been told by the University of Texas - San Antonio to post positive things on her Facebook about the school.
"He came and he told us if we were to post something about the Roadrunners, we would get free apparel in the mail," Gregory said.
Gregory said she thinks it is a good thing that universities are checking applicants' social media profiles.
"You put postings on the Internet for people to see, so it really doesn't creep me out," Gregory said. "If they want to see it, I mean I put it out there."
The University of Texas-El Paso and New Mexico State University both said they do not look at students' social media pages.
NMSU clearly stated that "students are admitted based on test scores and academic records."