On the other hand, it appears that smaller private schools are more prone to double-check social backgrounds on the internet.
"We have looked at Facebook pages more than any other website when certain students' applications raise red flags," said Jason Ferguson, director of admissions at Hampden-Sydney College.
According to Ferguson these "red flags" include borderline academics or disciplinary history.
"Since we are a smaller school, we look at applicants holistically. Facebook doesn't replace personal interviews, but it does give us a broader view of who the student truly is," Ferguson said.
However, social network profiles aren’t solely a mug shot.
While Ferguson said he's seen the same negative things found in the Kaplan survey, he also sees examples on Facebook pages that make students shine.
Gruenwald said survey results supported that idea.
"Images that reflect the achievements you put on paper can be a positive reinforcement,” Gruenwald said.
And for those apprehensive about the future of the traditional application process, online profiling hasn’t dominated over GPA.
Either way, Gruenwald said students should be aware of the possibility they're being monitored.
“We’re trying to bring awareness to students, to warn them against having all of their academic success overshadowed by typical carelessness on the Internet,” Gruenwald said.
"The concept of schools monitoring me has never really crossed my mind," said junior engineering major Alex Miller. "But for the sake of jobs and grad school and anything else with an application, it's definitely better to give yourself the benefit of the doubt."
The University of Virginia, another public school receiving a number of competitive applications every year, trusts students' online discretion.
"Most of the time, applicants are initially so thorough and interesting that we don't see the need to check their pages," said Jeannine Lalonde, senior assistant dean of admissions at UVa. "If they have referenced an especially interesting extracurricular or club and link us to a page, we may then check that out."
Lalonde has joined many schools in creating a Twitter page for communicating with applicants looking for updates. She said she has used the page to directly congratulate accepted students who have tweeted her.
"We're not looking for reasons to deny students admission, instead highlighting their positives," she added.
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