How Social Media Affects Law School Admissions
In the age of social media, everything is fair game.
That’s exactly how law school admissions officials see it.
According to a recent survey by Kaplan Test Prep, 56% of law school admissions officials say they have looked at an applicant’s social media to better understand them. A whopping 91% say that social media is “fair game” when it comes to applications.
“An overarching theme to the entire law school application is whether a prospective student is able to exercise good judgment,” Jeff Thomas, executive director of pre-law programs at Kaplan, tells Law.com. “An applicant’s digital trail can be an indicator of whether or not he or she possesses this quality,” “The legal community takes ethics among its members seriously.”
Taking Character and Judgement Into Account
The legal profession is highly regulated in nature and that’s a big reason why law school admissions officials are vetting applicant’s social media accounts during the admissions process.
And, as Law.com reports, it seems law admissions officials have increased their reliance on vetting social media in recent years. In 2011, only 37% reported vetting social media as part of the admissions process.
For the most part, social media has seemed to hurt candidate’s chances of admissions.
66% of admission officials report that they have found something on social media that hurt a candidate’s chances. One example? Underage drinking.
“A student who had a lot of character and fitness issues involving drugs and alcohol in their past claimed that they were now living sober, but their Facebook page was full of them partying,” according to one survey comment.
Positive Social Media
Not all social media is negative however.
Among admissions officers who choose to vet social media, 29% say that they actually found material that benefited an applicant. Involvement in activities, such as community service, can help paint a well-rounded candidate.
Additionally, professional social media accounts, such as LinkedIn, can have benefits.
Thaddeus Hoffmeister, a professor of law at the University of Dayton who writes on social media, says LinkedIn is one of the most effective ways to network.
“LinkedIn provides students the opportunity to discover job openings, connect with practicing attorneys, and learn about specific areas of law through virtual conversations,” Hoffmeister writes for ABA For Law Students. “LinkedIn is also very valuable during the early phases of any job search to include landing that initial interview.”