AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - More college admissions officers are researching possible applicants on social media.
According to Kaplan Test Prep, 40 percent of admissions officers visit an applicant's social media accounts to learn more about them; however, they are not doing it all the time.
Out of the 400 officers surveyed 89 percent said they "rarely" look at social networks, and 11 percent said they do it "often."
Some officers check a student's account to verify or double-check achievements students claim to make.
Unlike other colleges, West Texas A&M University admissions officers do not check the social networks of future students, but they do look at a student's class rank, GPA, and standardized test scores.
Even though they do not research a student through social media, they do encourage them to use it as a means of communicating with the university.
"We do interact with the students a whole lot more on social media, our Twitter, our Instagram, and our Snapchat," said Joseph Stiles, Assistant Director of Admissions at West Texas A&M. "We try to get a strong relationship with students. If they need information they can direct message us on Twitter. We get tons of Snapchats a day [of] students asking us stuff or to show them things. We don't want them just to see a brochure that shows what the university is, we want to show them what we can actually do."
Even though West Texas A&M does not look towards social media, Stiles supports admissions officers who do.
"I think it's great [that] admissions counselors are looking at that and letting students know you don't wait until you're 18 to start acting professional," Stiles said.
Universities are not the only ones using social media as references, many employers are using these platforms as well.
"A lot of other employers in town do that because they accept applications online, so that is really the only way to get to know who the applicant is or see what they look like, here at Amarillo National Bank we do not do that," said Corey Krusa, Personnel Director of Amarillo National Bank.
Krusa said it can be unfair to applicants if an employer looks at their social media accounts because online representations are not always truthful.
"We tell people this all the time, whether it's giving advice to students who are still in school and preparing for graduation or new employees, we tell them once you hit that button it is there to stay," Krusa said. "Whether you hit delete or try to make it go away it is there forever."
Even though all colleges or employers do not reference social media Stiles feels it is still important to be cautious of your online representation.
"You have to be conscious of what you're going to put on social media because once it's out there, it's out there," Stiles said. "There's no taking it back because just like you can see in a celebrity they post something and it's an accident, they delete it, someone has already screenshot it and saved it and showed the rest of the world."