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10 Percent of Colleges Check Applicants' Social Profiles 398

Posted by Soulskill
from the mood:-unsurprised dept.
theodp writes "Confirming paranoid high-schoolers' fears, a new Kaplan survey reveals that 10% of admissions officers from prestigious schools said they had peeked at sites like Facebook and MySpace to evaluate college-bound seniors. Of those using the profiles, 38% said it had a 'negative impact' on the applicant. 'Today's application is not just what you send ... but whatever they can Google about you,' said Kaplan's Jeff Olson. At Notre Dame, assistant provost for enrollment Dan Saracino said he and his staff sometimes come across candidates portraying themselves in a less-than-flattering light. 'It's typically inappropriate photos — like holding up a can of beer at a party,' Saracino said. On the other hand, using the Internet to vet someone's character seems overly intrusive to Northwestern's Christopher Watson. 'We consider Facebook and MySpace their personal space,' the dean of undergraduate admissions said. 'It would feel somewhat like an invasion of privacy.'" We recently discussed similar practices from prospective employers.
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10 Percent of Colleges Check Applicants' Social Profiles

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:00PM (#25093471)

    If you can't figure that out, you shouldn't be getting into good schools.

  • Common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by haluness (219661) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:01PM (#25093473)

    Don't put up what you don't want other people to see - I hear all about the new generation growing up with the Internet and Facebook being a part of their life.

    But what about simple commonsense rules (either derived on their own or imbibed from parents)?

    Would you make a fool of yourself in the street (OK, some people would)?

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:05PM (#25093507)
    'It's typically inappropriate photos â" like holding up a can of beer at a party,' Saracino said

    Riiiight. Because nobody who has had a picture taken holding a can of beer could possibly benefit from a higher education, or be a net positive for society.

    Cripes. Makes me glad I'm decades past my college days.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:05PM (#25093517) Homepage Journal
    for accuracy. First its really easy to blackmail someone by creating an account with their bio, and probably next to impossible to get it down. Secondly, esp. with more common names, its really easy to find someone with the same name who is totally unrelated to the applicant. Should you be judged based on what that person does? Finally, how many people actually take the time to really interpret what a quick google search reveals? A search for my real name without quotes, esp. my full name, reveals tons of porn. I guess I just better hope that nobody tries to search for me on the internet without taking the time to do a proper query(and even then all they will find is my embarrassing performance in the one and only sanctioned chess tournament I ever participated in....)
  • Scariest here... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia (191772) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:09PM (#25093551)

    Their reliance on the fact that the profiles are "real"

    Of those using the profiles, 38% said it had a 'negative impact' on the applicant. 'Today's application is not just what you send ... but whatever they can Google about you,'

    Suppose a person has a grudge against you. They know you are applying for admission to a certain school. They know the school searches for myspace profiles or other profiles on social networking sites.

    The person anonymizes themselves using proxies and creates a fake facebook or myspace profile. They use your name and general location: they include some nasty message/text that would be seen as highly negative.

    The admissions office searches for your name. They find this page. They have no real way to verify whether or not you posted the page.

    Their decision otherwise would be to admit you to their school, but they assume you posted this horrible page: it has your name, location, and a few other details that match their records, after all. Their assumption leads to a negative conclusion which prevents you from being admitted.

    The person who posted the info is completely anonymous, and there is no means to locate the person.

    What is your recourse? You will never actually be told the underlying reason for the rejection.

    This is a reason universities should not be "searching" social network sites: until such time as the identity of the site's creator can be proven. They are creating a DoS opportunity for anonymous people to prevent other people from being admitted.

  • by Yer Mum (570034) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:10PM (#25093559)
    What happens if you can figure it out but your friend who took the photo and uploaded it can't?
  • Personal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:10PM (#25093561)
    'We consider Facebook and MySpace their personal space,' the dean of undergraduate admissions said. 'It would feel somewhat like an invasion of privacy.'"

    They're being overly sensitive. MySpace isn't private. Information put on the internet, publicly available without a password or other security, should be considered as public as anything on a community bulletin board.

    That's why deeplinking is legal, to refer to the discussion from a few days ago.

    Also, a simple MySpace check can probably tell the college a vast amount of detail about the student... and their level of stupidity. Responsibility and Judgment should be rewarded.
  • by SlashBugs (1339813) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:13PM (#25093583)

    ..including the internet.

    Arguably the universities should restrict themselves to the application documents and interviews, in the spirit of fair play.

    However, these kids have created publicly viewable profiles for themselves and chosen to leave the privacy settings off so anyone with a net connection can view them. They've then loaded up these profiles with photos and information that make them look bad, and still decided to leave it all open to public view.

    There's no way someone who's done all this could possibly complain that someone has invaded their privacy. They've undoubtedly tried to find all the online information about their prospective colleges and professors; it's a two-way street.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:14PM (#25093591) Homepage Journal

    Very true. It is also true that if you think what someone puts on Facebook and MySpace is relevant to their academic performance, then you shouldn't be in charge of admissions decisions for a good school, or any school. If you think it's relevant to job performance, you shouldn't be making hiring decisions, either.

    There. That disposes of the question of what people "shouldn't" be doing. Now, back to the real world.

  • by compumike (454538) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:15PM (#25093597) Homepage

    It doesn't have to be a photo you posted... but someone else could have posted it and tagged you! You essentially have to start assuming that any digital photo taken of you will end up online with your name. Quite scary. Would be nice if there sere some sort of consent-based tagging, requiring your approval, but that's probably too complicated for Facebook to think about.

    --
    Hey code monkey... learn electronics! Powerful microcontroller kits for the digital generation. [nerdkits.com]

  • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:23PM (#25093663) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it's just my read but I do believe that "holding up a beer can at a party" is really just a placeholder phrase for all the jackass things people post of themselves on the internet. In the US it has become apparent to me that mostly what counts is image. From products to politics it is not necessarily a good product (only) that wins out, it is a product that has a good image with the public.

    As my mother-in-law says, if you're alive you're in business. So don't be a dolt and publicly post stuff that could have a deleterious effect on your image.
  • Re:Common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Revolver4ever (860659) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:23PM (#25093665)
    It's easy to do that. And while I'm sure lots of people post pictures of themselves doing stupid things, I would be more worried about my friends, enemies, girlfriends, ex's, bystanders, even family posting pictures or writing blog posts about me without my knowledge or consent. If a university finds a blog post that mentions my name and how kinky I am in bed especially after drinking and smoking and getting a tattoo written by my ex who wants to get back at me..what do you do?
  • Pimp your profile (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:24PM (#25093675) Homepage

    The obvious next step is to make your profile a promotional tool. The "high achiever profile" may be the next big thing. You addressing the Junior Chamber of Commerce. You working on a political campaign. You being interviewed on TV.

    Soon, this will be a routine part of getting into college, and there will be services to do this for you.

  • Re:Common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skye16 (685048) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:30PM (#25093711)

    It's funny how most parents spend a considerable amount of time telling their kids "it doesn't matter what other people think" when it comes to things like peer pressure or social interaction, and then we go right back around and tell them it's important what other people think and your life is ruined if you make a fool out of yourself, whether on the street or online.

    It's either one or the other, people. Either it doesn't matter what people think, and you can wear a toga when you're sweeping your lawn with a vacuum cleaner, or it matters what people think and you should be devastated that Kristen thinks you're a retard because you won't spend 150$ on a pair of jeans.

    Or maybe, just maybe, parents should be telling their kids the truth: "it always matters what important people think, but determining importance is an exercise in good judgment. Since you're a teenager, your judgment sucks, so I'll decide for you who should be important to you."

    I'm sure this wouldn't come over so well stated precisely like that, but I'm sure someone could come up with a better way of saying it.

  • by JustOK (667959) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:30PM (#25093715) Journal

    take responsibility for your own actions?

  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:33PM (#25093745) Homepage

    Since when has a school been *just* about academics? Isn't it also about the 'life experience' aspect too?

    Since when has a 'job' *just* been about 'performance'? Doesn't your personality and ability to fit in with others have anything to do with how well you'll do on a job?

  • Re:Common sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:33PM (#25093751)

    Fair enough. People should be careful what they post (I know I am).

    But in another sense, this issues is shining a light on a fundamental hypocrisy in our society. Were teens before the Internet angels? I think not. They vandalized, they drank, they did drugs, they pushed boundaries... just like the teens of today. But, their actions were easier to keep private. Now with SMS, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Google, etc., all these kinds of things are more consistently cataloged and disseminated. Even if you don't post it yourself, a friend (or enemy) might post it. And it will be indexed.

    The hypocrisy comes in from the social elders who now judge these teens. They see a teen holding a can of beer, and deem them irresponsible. Yet, the vast majority of those judging did the exact same thing when they were a teen. Holding this next generation to a higher standard is hypocritical. How many of the great men and women in society did the same kinds of things? (According to statistics: most of them.) And what does it accomplish? Does it actually reduce the activitie(s), or just teach teens how to hide and lie?

    I think it's time that society in general got a little more honest and realistic about what teens are up to. They drink, they have sex, they do all kinds of crazy things. I'm not saying that we give them free reign to do whatever they want without consequences. But I'm sick of holding them to unrealistic expectations, and teaching them habits that amount to "hide the truth" rather than "enjoy life in a balanced and responsible way."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:35PM (#25093763)

    Well... it IS illegal.

    Although I wonder what they would think if you put up a picture of a speeding ticket you got. It would be interesting to ask one of those jackals how they would feel about that.

  • by gnarled (411192) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:35PM (#25093765) Homepage

    Point taken, but such a student may indeed be far less likely to contribute to that university's Nobel Prize count.

    Are you sure? I bet if Richard Feynman had had a Facebook profile it would have been pretty scandalous.

  • by call -151 (230520) * on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:35PM (#25093767) Homepage

    There was a recent post [cosmicvariance.com] on the physics group blog Cosmic Variance about potential job applicants having webpages and getting Googled during the course of hiring for academic positions- postdocs and faculty. So it's not just the students, it's faculty as well.

    There are lots of questions you can't have on a job application (sexual orientation, religion, etc.) but if an applicant volunteers that information, that is permitted. And the attitude seems to be that if information is on a webpage, it is "volunteered" to the world.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:36PM (#25093783) Journal

    Actually, I don't think it's moot. The idea that semantics can be played here means that a given percentile of the populace will be confused and not understand the dangers of posting a picture of their friend on the internet passed out, with the caption including their name and the particular substance involved. So a future employer check their myspace page, and pages of all his best friends. One lost job in the making, and not through personal mistakes, but because friends talk too much.

    Personal information on the Internet is dangerous. My own family mocks my attempts to tell them not to do it, and to be very careful about what their friends post. Despite that there are pictures that are less than complimentary on line of them. I don't think that anyone can stress enough how those semantics will not protect them from a nosy prospective employer.

  • by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04NO@SPAMhighpoint.edu> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:42PM (#25093831)

    I doubt it's necessary. There's hundreds of great colleges all across America; anyone can get accepted to a decent school somewhere here. It might not be Harvard, but that doesn't matter. I went to a fairly unknown university, learned many things, expanded my thinking, gained new perspectives, and did all of the things anyone should do in college.

    I remember from high school that many people are worried about getting in at all or about going to someplace famous. Getting accepted someplace that's decent isn't difficult and getting accepted someplace famous isn't important. The most important thing is deciding that you have a lust for knowledge, having a vague inclination of something you'd love to know more about, and pursuing it. Too many people with no ambition waste their time in college and come out with only a piece of paper to show for it.

  • No sympathy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EWAdams (953502) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:43PM (#25093841) Homepage
    If you post stuff about yourself that reflects badly on you, you have no grounds for complaint. Live with the consequences of your actions or don't post. Underage drinking may or may not be a bad idea; telling the world about it definitely is. Why should a college want to admit a moron with no judgment?
  • Duh, and duh-er. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by geofgibson (1332485) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:43PM (#25093843)
    You don't show up for the job interview stoned and wearing a tie dye either. And, "We consider Facebook and MySpace their personal space,' the dean of undergraduate admissions said. 'It would feel somewhat like an invasion of privacy." is just so incredibly stupid. It is a PUBLIC site you morons. If you don't want to be known as a loadie, don't post it. Kids today, (as I sound just like my dad).
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:50PM (#25093893) Homepage

    getting accepted someplace famous isn't important.

    It gives you a significant edge in later life. Leaf through Who's Who and notice people's colleges.

  • by CSMatt (1175471) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:56PM (#25093949)

    I don't go to college for the "life experience." I go for the degree. If socialization was the goal, I'd do it without spending thousands of dollars a semester.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:57PM (#25093959) Homepage

    take responsibility for your own actions?

    And what exactly does that mean in practise? If everything private is free to be put on the Intarwebs by someone else, then you don't have a private life. It doesn't mean that you have to be ashamed of it or anything, but it means it's no longer private. There's a difference between "taking responsibility" by using a condom when banging your girlfriend and "taking responsibility" for the video being on porntube against your will. I think you can find many examples of socially accepted behaviour where putting it online isn't if you think about it.

  • by dal20402 (895630) <dal20402@NOSpam.mac.com> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @12:57PM (#25093961) Journal

    In other words, if you ever want to do anything but be a bum, you have to live life like Ward Cleaver.

    A world were "holding up a can of beer at a party" is something that should disqualify anyone from anything is not a world I want to live in. There are several pictures of me holding a beer or a glass of wine on Facebook. They don't reflect anything remotely negative about me.

    Yes, people should use judgment (i.e. not let pictures of themselves naked, etc. onto the Internet), but I shouldn't have to be held hostage by people's crazy hangups. People don't always just sit in their houses and read the New York Times.

  • by D Ninja (825055) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:03PM (#25094031)

    I think you kind of missed the point. Said individuals holding the beer were in high school (AKA this is why they were applying to colleges) and, as such, were illegally in possession of beer.

    That's why it was inappropriate.

  • by discontinuity (792010) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:06PM (#25094067)

    Very true. It is also true that if you think what someone puts on Facebook and MySpace is relevant to their academic performance, then you shouldn't be in charge of admissions decisions for a good school, or any school. If you think it's relevant to job performance, you shouldn't be making hiring decisions, either.

    I'll play devil's advocate here. I happen to agree that this kind of thing shouldn't matter, but I think I understand the admissions perspective:

    For the college admissions people this is an odds game. The number of applicants who are qualified based on test scores, grades and all the normal junk is larger than the number of spaces they have. Given this, how do they pare it down? Perhaps Googling or checking out the Facebook/MySpace pages for some of the "borderline" students is more practical than throwing darts? I'm guessing their belief is that a student who gave in to peer pressure and the like in high school has worse odds of being successful in college where such pressures go unchecked by parents, etc. I'm not saying it's right, but I think I see where they're coming from.

    Now, all of that being said, I think students who are somewhat sheltered in high school are just as likely, and perhaps even more likely, to succumb to the temptations and pressures of college life. I've seen more than a couple people who were honors students in high school simply go off the deep end upon arriving at college. Conversely, I've known several who were "party types" in high school who decided that it was time to get serious about life when they got to college and have been very successful since then. It's just really hard to know how people will react until you do the experiment.

    I for one am glad that MySpace and camera phones weren't around when I was a teenager!

  • by TheLink (130905) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:07PM (#25094083) Journal
    Who really wants to work for an employer who won't hire you just because you've been drunk after hours? Or even just holding a mug of beer with friends doing silly but fairly harmless stuff?

    The upcoming generation seem to take a lot of pictures (often unflattering or just silly) of themselves and their friends, and post them straight to their blogs or other pages. So it seems to me the future bunch of CEOs and bosses would probably have plenty of pictures of them passed out/drunk on such sites, maybe even with youtube videos.

    Maybe some might figure the passed out person with a good portfolio would still be a good worker AND be good fun for the rest of the company.

    They might even be suspicious of people without evidence of any friends - antisocial, bad fit for the company etc.
  • Special pleading (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:15PM (#25094185)
    In every other sector of adult life, public information about an individual is used as part of society's assessment that person. Yes, kids, adults are judged based on all their publicly available information. Sometimes, in addition, even uncomfortable private information is actively used against you like when applying for health insurance, life insurance, and large loans. True, sometimes that information is inaccurate. True, sometimes people launch smear campaigns to damage someone's reputation. Is it fair? No. But it is your adult responsibility to make sure your public and private social footprint is as accurate as possible. Why students expect special treatment when applying for college is beyond me. It isn't like the universities are hacking into their emails or facebook accounts. They are going to web sites that scream, "Hey everyone! Look at MEEEEE!!" All I can say is welcome to the real world, children.
  • by Artraze (600366) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:17PM (#25094221)

    > take responsibility for your own actions?

    So are you trying to say that people shouldn't drink, have sex, or do anything else that others would consider inappropriate so as to ensure such actions could never be photographed and posted online? Or when you say "your own actions" you mean the actions of the person that's taking the picture and then posting it?

    There are a lot of things that people can do very responsibly, like drinking and having sex, and I for one don't care (in principle) if the events are cataloged by photo or what have you. The trouble is, however, that other (such as these colleges) view such behavior as 'inappropriate'. That's why many people will not post such things on the internet. The problem here is that some people _will_ post pictures/accounts regardless of the wishes of those in the pictures/accounts. So unless your idea of taking responsibility involves a shotgun, I fail to see how it, in any way, helps the situation.

    (Of course, the real problem lies in the hypocrisy of the admissions boards. I highly doubt that they never went to parties or had sex or did something that looked stupid for laughs. But for some reason the fact that these kids doing the same means that the will make shitty students? Give me a break. I've got a lot of respect for those boards that consider these pages to be personal and don't look as to avoid biasing themselves with information they know isn't relevant.)

  • Re:No sympathy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:17PM (#25094227) Homepage

    If the stuff you post has no bearing on your ability to be a good student, you do have grounds for complaint. Life shouldn't be limited to whatever is acceptable to admissions officers with an overinflated sense of their ability to judge other people's character. Perhaps you're happy fitting into other people's molds of what people should be, but many people are not. Their personal lives -- even when discussed in public -- should generally have no bearing on your ability to attend college and improve yourself.

  • by xenocide2 (231786) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:21PM (#25094253) Homepage

    Well, it means not drinking at age 17 in a country where the drinking age is 21. I'm sure there's other better examples of stupid pictures recruiters would dislike on the internet, but that particular example is both common and indefensible. If you're already partying and binge drinking in high school, I can't imagine yourself making a dramatic voluntary change in college.

    Your examples are silly; placing pornography of a highschool student online is highly likely to be child pornography, and carries a ten year sentence minimum in the US. In light of that, I don't think it's socially acceptable to record it, let alone put it on the net. In contrast, I can think of a lot of things that you'd see as socially unacceptable in high school that are perfectly acceptable to college recruiters. The problem is simply publishing without consent; I imagine some people would hate seeing pictures of them in Boy Scout uniforms published to their peers.

  • by pjt33 (739471) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:28PM (#25094315)
    The context here is 17-year-olds holding up a beer can and posing for the camera. There is a difference between not drinking and not drinking under-age: only one is illegal. There is also a difference between doing something illegal and doing something illegal while posing for your friend to take a photo: one is arguably a bad idea, but the other is plain stupid.
  • by FailedTheTuringTest (937776) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:35PM (#25094375)

    Feynman was a pain in the ass to administrators and bureaucrats, I can certainly imagine petty bureaucrats passing up a student potential-Feynman in order to make their own lives easier. (Before Nobel-worthiness is proven, of course. Once you're a proven genius then you can be as eccentric as you want and people will make allowances. They couldn't kick Feynman out of Los Alamos for safe-cracking, but a non-famous student picking the lock on the Dean's office...?)

  • myface/spacebook (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:43PM (#25094469)

    Only an idiot would put easy to find, personally identifiable information onto a publicly accessible site on the internet.
    If you are stupid enough to add data your myface page to such an extent that it can identify you to somebody that doesn't know you, you deserve to have your college application and/or job prospects ruined by it, especially if you act like a twat on said site.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:45PM (#25094507) Homepage

    Well, it means not drinking at age 17 in a country where the drinking age is 21. (...) Your examples are silly; placing pornography of a highschool student online is highly likely to be child pornography

    Sorry, I forget I'm talking about freak country. At 16 about 84% of our teens have drunk alcohol (legal age 18), and noone would freak if they say a 16yo with a beer bottle. Also, at 17 about half our teens will have had sex, yes technically it'd be child porn here too (legal age for porn 18, but age of consent 16) and they'd probably be chasing who uploaded it but it's not unusual for a 17yo to have a sex life.

    The problem is simply publishing without consent;

    There we agree, it's just that "take responsibility for your actions" is a completely meaningless answer to the problem.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:54PM (#25094593) Homepage

    If you're already partying and binge drinking in high school, I can't imagine yourself making a dramatic voluntary change in college.

    If you're not partying by the time you hit college, I'd say there's something wrong. Binge drinking ain't for everyone, but everyone should at least have a bit of fun in life.

    If holding a beer in a photo is an excuse to consider someone "irresponsible", well then I got two middle fingers with Dan Saracino's name on them.

    The teenage years are about making connections, learning one's limits and getting ready for the rest of your long repetitive bullshit life. I'd much rather have someone who partied in their teens, got their fill and settled down in the later years, than a goody-two-shoes that's going to be consumed with jealousy and go apeshit in their early thirties.

    The whole US college system makes less and less sense with each passing year. That's where they're breeding all this passive-aggressive nonsense that transpires in every business transaction, every press release, every visit to the doctor. I don't care if a kid is a freaking genius, if he/she doesn't have a good life balance they won't get much accomplished in the end.

  • by xenocide2 (231786) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @01:56PM (#25094621) Homepage

    One quibble:

    At 16 about 84% of our teens have drunk alcohol (legal age 18)

    The beauty of legalization is that you can have a beer with your parents. A better comparison, however, would be the percentage of 16-year-olds who've gone drinking in private without any adults present. The atmosphere is entirely different, and good judgement is entirely absent. This is the atmosphere that leads to keg stands and binge drinking, drunk driving and death by alcohol poisoning. It's already something of a scourge on campus nationwide.

    In the absence of legalization, it's also the only atmosphere that will exist with undergraduates, and I have to agree with recruiters that the poor judgment to participate in that at 16, 17 or 18 probably won't change course before something dramatic happens like a good friend's death, being kicked out for poor grades or worse.

    So I guess, no we don't agree, but perhaps because the culture you're in serves to protect the young and the culture I'm in serves to fuel rebellion against common sense.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @02:03PM (#25094697) Homepage

    Yep I agree... at least where I'm from, people start partying at age 15-16, so that by the time they're doing their masters degree, they have not only passed the binge phase but they also have developed their social skills. By the time they're legal and hit the bars, they're hopefully experienced enough to stay out of trouble. It's far better to make your first mistakes in the safety of a friend's living room or cottage, than to puke all over some guy's dick in the back of a bar then spend the night in a holding cell for trying to score dope off a narc.

    I'm not saying everyone needs to be a drugged-up drunken whore, but there should be more tolerance and understanding of the process. Prohibition only makes the problem worse, and uptight admissions officers / employers / parents are sending out the wrong message.

    Is it alright to party ? Hell yes, just be reasonable about it and don't show up to school/work intoxicated. How can teens learn to be reasonable if they don't party at all ?

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @02:14PM (#25094813) Homepage

    It's not so much about privacy as it is about freedom.

    What you do in your private time is your business, not that of the admissions staff, your employer or anyone you don't explicitly include in that private life. My boss/coworkers know full well I'm a (part-time) party hound, but when I'm on the clock I'm delivering 100%. If either one of them were to criticize me over my facebook-documented weekend boozecapades, I'd give them an earful! Conversely, I'd drag my boss out to the peelers and drink him under the table, were he that kind of fellow.

    Put it this way: replace drinking with any other hobby or pastime, like canoeing. Some people really enjoy canoeing, others think it's a mindless unproductive waste of time and money. People that enjoy it, often do it all the time, and post photos of their exploits on facebook. Should a bright kid be denied entry to college because the dean of admissions doesn't like canoes ?

  • by Yer Mum (570034) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @02:17PM (#25094851)

    Won't get you very far in a society where what's important is image not responsibility, where nobody takes responsibility until the image comes out, and even if there's a reasonable explanation for the image then responsibility must be seen to be taken (a different thing) because the image is more important than the actual facts.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @02:23PM (#25094915) Homepage

    Hypocrisy is how the most obnoxious nation in the world has demonized the oldest forms of entertainment, and is now whining because those demons are out of control.

    Killing is fine if it's in the name of "god", fraud is fine if you call it "banking", but nudity will not be tolerated in any form, unless you cover your nipples.

    What the fuck kind of warped mind came up with that ? The mindset is most definitely not in line with the majority of Americans I've known.

  • by Praxx (918463) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @02:46PM (#25095213)

    The teenage years are about making connections, learning one's limits and getting ready for the rest of your long repetitive bullshit life. I'd much rather have someone who partied in their teens, got their fill and settled down in the later years, than a goody-two-shoes that's going to be consumed with jealousy and go apeshit in their early thirties.

    You hit the nail on the head. Most of the hardcore party people I knew in college had never partied in high school. All of the ones that partied hard in high school always had the "been there, done that" attitude and were much more serious about school.

  • by Indagator (1266958) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @02:57PM (#25095325)

    I don't go to college for the "life experience." I go for the degree.

    Then it sounds to me that you're wasting your money.

    This isn't to say that a piece of paper to hang on your wall doesn't have value. Especially today, having that piece of paper is a necessary condition to obtain good employment. But if you think that being around hundreds or thousands of academically minded peers, from all different backgrounds, and who possess both the time and the inclination to explore new ideas with you - if you think that is worthless, then you don't belong at a typical university. You should be attending a commuter school, where you could be saving some of those thousands of dollars a semester while still getting your piece of paper to hang on your wall.

  • by Blackknight (25168) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @03:21PM (#25095595) Homepage

    OMG, somebody drinking a beer! When I was 17 I did a lot of stupid/illegal stuff but I turned out to be a productive member of society.

  • Re:Common sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arterion (941661) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @03:34PM (#25095757)

    Almost all kids do things that others would frown on. Just because you find nothing about someone online doesn't mean they don't do it -- only that there is no indication of them doing it online.

    It leads to the fallacious reasoning "Oh, student xxxx doesn't have any online profiles of him drinking and having sex, and student yyyyy does. That must mean student xxxxx doesn't do those things and student yyyyy does. Therefore, student xxxxx is a better choice."

    It sounds like that's the argument, and, even if you agree drinking and having sex is inappropriate behavior for students (HA), the fact that some student don't have pictures of it on the internet is in no way proof they they don't do those things.

  • by BitterOak (537666) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @03:39PM (#25095815)

    Well, it means not drinking at age 17 in a country where the drinking age is 21. I'm sure there's other better examples of stupid pictures recruiters would dislike on the internet, but that particular example is both common and indefensible. If you're already partying and binge drinking in high school, I can't imagine yourself making a dramatic voluntary change in college.

    There is a difference between underage drinking and binge drinking. And what's wrong with partying?

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @04:29PM (#25096283) Homepage Journal
    "I think people (meaning those rejecting college applications) need to stop being so uptight."

    Nice wish, and in an ideal world it would be so.

    Unfortunately, that is NOT the world we live in.....so, get used to it. Publishing photos of your self, nekkid, with a bottle of Jack in one hand, and a skull bong in the other can keep you out of a good school. It can also keep you out of a good job later in life.

    And Lord help you if you ever wanted to get into politics later in life, that stuff will last forever, and can and will be dug up to be used against you.

    Yep, it would be great if people weren't so uptight, but, alas....that is not the world we live in.

  • by spazdor (902907) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @04:48PM (#25096459)

    I don't think you really understood the meaning of responsibility there. If you don't want to be held accountable for doing something, then don't do it. That doesn't somehow translate to doing it in 'private' with the assumption that private means that nobody knows about it.

    Does the same logic apply to things like being gay? "Hey, if you don't want to face the college-admissions consequences, you shouldn't have done it!"

    The problem is whether a beer is legitimately objectionable or not.

  • by n dot l (1099033) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @04:52PM (#25096499)

    If you're already partying and binge drinking in high school, I can't imagine yourself making a dramatic voluntary change in college.

    That doesn't even begin to match up with what I've seen around me. Of my friends in high school there's a group of around 20 that were pretty heavy drinkers by the time they turned 18 (the legal age where I live). Oh, and they did a lot of drugs, too. And they skipped classes a lot, and half of them dropped out of school. They were pretty much your typical "gonna be a rock star" crowd (which is why I hung out with them - we all loved the same sort of music). By age 19/20 most of them were complete fuckups, as you'd expect, and I absolutely guarantee you that somewhere on the internet there are pictures of them doing some pretty fucked up shit.

    And then they, for various reasons, grew up. Some got kicked out of home and had to cope. Others had kids and suddenly realized they had to care for them. Whatever the causes, within the next four years all but two had stopped the heavy partying, stopped doing drugs altogether, were working hard and paying rent on their little apartments. That was three years ago and every single one of them (except the two who will probably never have their shit together) have either trained into a trade, or gone back to school, or worked their way up to a management position in their companies. They own homes, and pay their bills every month. The ones with kids are either taking care of them themselves or (where the relationships fell apart) making regular support payments. None of them are living on welfare (not even the two who will probably be fighting their addictions till they die) or begging on the street or robbing people.

    That matches up pretty well with what other people my age observed in their social circles, and even what older people I know remember of the "loser" crowd from when they were young. No, not everyone is going to turn their lives around, but in my experience and that of many others I know the vast majority of the people you'd have written off in high school as utter failures do manage to build a good respectable life for themselves in the end.

    So no, I don't buy the whole "if you failed in high school you'll fail forever" mentality. People certainly do change, and I'd be pretty appalled if industry and educational institutions were to deny these good, solid, hardworking people a future because they did some dumb shit almost a decade ago.

    Then again maybe social pressures are different enough where you live that everyone that parties hard in their youth does end up an alcoholic, I don't know, you'll have to enlighten us.

  • by ragefan (267937) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @05:05PM (#25096627)

    I think people (meaning those rejecting college applications) need to stop being so uptight.

    I drink beer. So what?

    Probably because if an applicant is willing to disregard the laws in order to underage drink or perform other illegal activities and flaunt them on the internet then likely he or she have no qualms with breaking the college honor code.

    When Admissions has at least an order of magnitude more applications than open slots, they can afford to be picky about those things.

  • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Sunday September 21, 2008 @06:01PM (#25097151) Homepage

    Wow. You have a pretty rosy idea about what university is like.

    I went (not in the US). It wasn't anything like that. I mean, don't get me wrong, I had some fun with my friends there, but it there was no uplifting atmosphere of intellectual curiousity. And I'm afraid nobody had time to "explore new ideas" with me, we were all busting our asses to jump through enough arbitrary hoops to get our degrees. The ones who weren't that busy were doing arts degrees and spent all their spare time socialising or doing college sports. Intellectual curiousity in a modern university is minimal in my experience.

    Knowing what I know now, I'd definitely have preferred to go to either no higher-ed school at all, or to a much cheaper community college. Unfortunately many employers and nearly all governments require them if you want to get a job/emigrate. There's no particular reason for this other than discriminating against poor people, but there you go.

  • by jstott (212041) on Sunday September 21, 2008 @08:06PM (#25098077)

    I drink beer. So what?

    Its like a job interview - if you don't care about your own application enough to clean up your public image (and Facebook is public), then why should I take you seriously?

    If your Facebook page makes you look like an idiot, then yes, I do question how seriously you intend to study here at ExampleU. A competitive college gets many more applicants than they can possibly accept, public information is a pretty good way to weed out the pile and discover who's likely a good student and who paid someone else to write their application essay. Furthermore, since graduation rate is one of the numbers that goes into US News and World Report's college rankings, the schools have a vested interest in favoring hard-working academic types over students who are likely to party themselves right out of the classroom.

    -JS

  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Monday September 22, 2008 @03:24AM (#25100683)

    IOW, "come back when you learned to deceive me!"

  • There's a missing piece here that comes in by implication: that drinking beer would be seen as a blemish on your image at all in the first place.

    As a non-USian it's hard for me to attribute a reason to that. My first guesses would be:

    - a tradition of puritanical views on drinking
    - an overwhelming law-abidingness that views even a single lapse of an insignificant regulation as a major character flaw

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday September 22, 2008 @07:01AM (#25101703)

    I know more 50 year olds who drive drunk than 17 year olds.

    I used to work at a restaurant which was a little out of the way and even though there was always a fleet of taxis there at the end of the night it was common enough as I went home to see the car in front meandering around the road with an obviously drunk driver. I'd pass them later and it was almost always some white haired old codger.

    You see old people can be idiots too but the difference is that they're certain they can handle it because they've been doing it for years and nothing bad has happened yet! You'd hear a crowd of them talking about the "disgraceful way young people act now days" and the "sure we'd always stop at 2 or 3 pints (reassuring isn't it)" would inevitably come up in the conversation. Of course these guys never drank less than 5 or 6 pints on their nights out but they were sure they were fine and wouldn't dream of wasting money on a taxi!

    I've been temped more than a few times to call up one of the local police I know and hint that outside where I work might be a good spot to watch for drunk drivers.

    In their favor they tended towards swerving around at 20 miles per hour rather than 80 but it's still fucking stupid.

    As for the risky behaviors bit, being a few years on from that age group I can agree with you on some counts but there is a reason why young people do stupid things- much of what you're told is dangerous really is, some of what you're told is dangerous isn't dangerous at all and the person doing the telling be it a parent or other authority figurte is just neurotic in some shape or form and has a warped view of risk in certain areas.
    Had I not ignored my uncle (who is mortally terrified of heights) whenever he got freaked out because I was more than 6 feet off the ground and climbed around in trees etc then I would have never learned that the risks involved are minor as long as you follow a few extremely simple safety precautions.

    If everyone took everything their parents claimed to be dangerous and didn't challenge it or try it out for themselves then humans would do nothing but sit very quietly inside rooms lined entirely with pillows quivering in fear. Sometimes when parents claim something is dangerous they're wrong. Simple as that, they're crazy or they don't look at the risk in a sensible manner.

    Admitedly I tend towards slightly higher risk sports like kayaking, rock climbing etc but it's always annoying when you run into someone who's way of deciding if something is dangerous is to assume that nobody else around them is any more experienced than themselves and from there make up their lack of experience with what their friend told them in the pub.

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