The Washington Times - April 29, 2009, 01:02PM

A new report says that 25 percent of colleges examine applicants’ social networking pages or run their names through search engines as part of their admissions process, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

The report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling noted that colleges didn’t reveal what role the online review plays in the application. But the report’s author said it’s likely that overly candid online material could hurt an applicant’s chances.

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“No school wants to give a prestigious scholarship to someone standing on a beer keg and wearing a lampshade,” said Nora Ganim Barnes, director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

That’s right, because who knows what a student like that might become?  Maybe president of the United States or something.

I’m surprised that only 25 percent of colleges check out applicants online.  It’s quick, it’s easy and, if it’s too revealing, you’re out!

If more colleges (and employers) checked out applicants online, it could give rise to a cottage industry of “Web site scrubbers” — tech specialists who clean up your online appearance.  They could even create a reality-TV makeover show about it.  They could call it “Un-picture This.”