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MBA hopefuls: Watch your Facebook privacy settings Add to ...

Ditch the bong in the profile pic, MBA wannabe: Fourteen per cent of admissions officers say personal details they ferreted out online tainted students’ candidacy, according to a new survey from Kaplan Test Prep.

The survey of 265 graduate business school admissions officers revealed that 22 per cent have trolled applicants’ Facebook pages and other social networks to glean more about prospective students. Another 27 per cent of officers just went for a straight Google search.

“Your digital trail can lead to rejection,” Kaplan announced in its statement.

By now, it should be no surprise that first impressions are made online, and that Facebook privacy settings should be set on high when one is applying to Yale or job hunting. But that’s a lesson plenty of college kids seem to forget, as evidenced by the inordinate number of tequila/cleavage shots floating around the Interwebs.

On AllFacebook.com, a blog devoted to the social network, writer Jackie Cohen advised against all out self-censorship, suggesting customized privacy settings instead. (You know, the ones Facebook keeps pestering you about?)

The website points to an earlier Kaplan study that suggested sleuthing students is now par for the course well beyond business school, with four out of five college admissions offices using Facebook to recruit hopefuls.

“All people are influenced by details and nuances,” Allison Otis, a former Harvard administrator, remarked on the snooping process.

(Yes, that includes the keg stand you’re attempting in your brassiere.)

On her blog, The Other Side of the Table: Confessions of a Former Harvard Interviewer, Ms. Otis advises against posting photos of illegal activity (hopping fences, underage boozing) but also warns of the pitfalls of “general silliness.” She asks a simple question: “What is the image you want to project? Is this helping you?”

She says the fact that few colleges have explicit policies concerning Facebook can actually hurt kids more: “I don’t have a protocol. So, if you happen to accidentally leave up something that happens to grab my attention in the wrong way, there's a chance it will influence me more than it should.”

Still, just as FB creeping becomes the norm for school administrators, employees are hitting back at bosses who employ the tactic at work.

In Washington, an Applebee’s staffer is facing the boot after he refused to sign an agreement that banned employees from dissing the chain on Facebook. Jason Cook said the contract violates his self-expression: “A line has been drawn in the sand,” he told ABC.

And earlier this summer, the National Labor Relations Board ruled against a New York non-profit that canned five employees after they vented their frustrations on Facebook.

What do you think: Should employers and school administrators be able to use our every Facebook gaffe against us?

Follow on Twitter: @ZosiaBielski

 

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