Houston: The criteria for getting admissions in colleges have changed to quite an extent now. Its not only a perfect score that can help you secure an admission into a reputed college, but now Facebook has become a vital selection tool.

According to last year's survey by Kaplan Test Prep, four out of five college admissions officers used Facebook to recruit students.

"We found that 82 per cent of admissions officers reported that their school is using Facebook to recruit students," Russell Schaffer, Kaplan's Senior Communication Manager said.

The website StudentAdvisor reports at least one case of an applicant being rejected because of certain things in his or her social media profile.

An interviewer has said she is "absolutely" prejudiced by what she sees online about candidates.

"I think it's always better to be safe than sorry," Allison Otis, who conducts interviews for Harvard College, posted in a thread on a website.

"When you apply to college you spend such a long time crafting an image through your applications and essays that to be careless about your online data is just silly".

Otis said she frequently searches Google for students' names and looks through their Facebook and Twitter profiles.

The content of a prospective student's Facebook profile is fast becoming more important than their grades, extracurricular activities, or teacher recommendations, but it’s not that big a surprise that the social network is playing a role in the admission process.

After all, if recruiters check Facebook when hiring future employees, there's really no reason why schools can't do the same for students. Sometimes your online profile can be the tiebreaker.

It's also important to note that the high number probably also includes college representatives finding interesting students online and encouraging them to apply to their school.

If you're a student, there are two ways to take advantage of this information. On one hand, you can try to make your Facebook profile as exemplary as possible. This is quite difficult given that you have to stay on top of what your Facebook friends tag you in and so on.

The other option is to simply lock down your Facebook’s privacy settings.

A Facebook profile apparently doesn't hold as much weight as grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, teacher recommendations and essays.

But if you're looking at a tie between equally talented students, social media content could be the tiebreaker.

Dean Tsouvalas, editor of StudentAdvisor, recommends in a recent blog post that students use social media to their advantage.

He advices following the school's Twitter feed or "liking" its Facebook fan page.

Students also can post a video resume on YouTube or blog about volunteering efforts or other extracurricular activities and provide a link on their applications.

 

(Agencies)