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Articles / Applying to College / Will Admission Officials Google Me?

Will Admission Officials Google Me?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | March 28, 2015

Question: If you Google my name you will see a Wikipedia article about my life, and the company I started is mentioned in many news reports. Do admission officials search the internet to know about the student?

Admission officials do not routinely do Google searches to seek out information about their applicants. But it DOES happen … most often when the application says something atypical that the college folks want to learn more about. Sometimes this occurs when the applicant mentions a major achievement that’s likely to have made its way to Cyberspace, or it may be when there are inconsistencies in the application and its supporting materials (e.g., if the student claims to have won a national science award and yet the science grades and test scores are low). Sometimes an inconsistency is legitimate (e.g., a future Enrico Fermi neglects his studies in favor of independent research) but this would probably spur the admissions readers to look for corroboration of the award. They often begin the follow-up with a call to the school counselor, but they might take a trip to the Internet as well.   So if your application discusses a start-up company that you founded, a curious admission staffer might indeed turn to Google to find out more … or not.

If you want admission committees to know about your out-of-school achievements for sure,  you must tell them in your applications. If the explanation doesn’t fit well in your essays, the “Additional Information” section of your applications would be a good place to put it. However, when candidates DON’T want admission officials to know more about them than what they reveal in their applications, then the outcome is in the hands of fate. Many admission officers are way too busy to be investigative reporters while others seem to enjoy the challenge.


Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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