Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Scholarship providers now checking the Web for dirt on applicants

We've already made clear, time and time again, that companies are now searching social media sites for "dirt" on potential employees. Now, even potential college students can't escape the watchful eye of others: about 1/4 of those who responded to a survey by FastWeb and the National Scholarship Providers Association said they check scholarship applicants online.

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These checks are primarily for scholarship finalists, those surveyed said. The 25 percent of respondents who said that they do check against social media and the Web said they were looking for the following, both positive and negative:
  • About 1/4 simply wanted to verify information on the application.
  • About 3/4 are looking for poor behavior on the part of the applicant, such that it could reflect badly on the scholarship provider. Examples included underage drinking, provocative pictures, illegal drug use or racial slurs.
  • More than 50 percent wanted to get to know the applicant better or were looking for positive traits such as creativity or good communication skills.
  • About 1/3 said that they have denied a scholarship to an applicant because of something they found online.
  • About 1/4 said that something they found online prompted them to grant an applicant a scholarship.
FastWeb and the National Scholarship Providers Association sent surveys to about 300 members in September, but only 67 members responded. Still, the results should make applicants think. - Unmask Blocked Calls
College and scholarship applications are also not too early to get used to potential online scrutiny. In a 2009 survey commissioned by Microsoft, 70 percent of U.S. job recruiters said they have rejected candidates based on information they discovered online.

In another example of what not to do online, in 2008, then Mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist of Arlington, OR was forced out of office after images on MySpace, one of which is shown above, were discovered by the townsfolk.

Lesson learned: what's posted to the Internet, stays on the Internet.

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