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Online Identity

The reason for this part of Students.net is the emerging importance of the way you express or expose yourself online, your so called online identity. For example, the pictures, number of friends and status updates you have on Facebook are all defining your online identity. In fact, your digital identity could have serious consequences for being admitted to college or University!

A recent study released by Kaplan showed that more than 80% of America’s top colleges use social media in their recruiting process. We stated some of the facts how this new recruiting trend compares to the recruiting tactics of yesteryear:

  • 70% of colleges say that the Facebook profiles of candidates are also a medium or high priority in the admissions process
  • Facebook (82%); Twitter (56%) and Youtube (56%) are the three social networks admission officers us the most in their recruiting efforts
  • 62% of admission officers say that students’ social media profiles have generally helped them get accepted not hurt them; 38% of colleges admit that students’ profiles have generally hurt their admissions chances
  • Many grad school admissions officers are also looking at applicants’ social media profiles, respectively: Business Schools (9%), Law Schools (15%) and Medical Schools (14%)

The numbers don’t lie. But there is more, your online identity doesn’t only affect admittance to college; sharing personal information on social networks can be a Walhalla for scammers. Online communication has become so obvious that privacy and security issues are easily disregarded. Read on for more on online identity protection.

Online Identity Protection

While updating your FB status, posting your weekend pictures online and accepting ‘friends’ are innocent actions, there are several things you need to be aware off. Scammers can easily ‘steal’ your online identity if you’re not being careful with the personal information you put online. Think of, for example, someone creating a fake profile with your pictures and posting things online pretending it’s you. You don’t want to let that happen to you, do you? Here are some tips to prevent you from these felonies.

  1. Set all your profile setting to private and only let friends see your pictures and updates. You probably don’t want the admission officers or your future employee to see your extravaganza weekend pictures.
  2. Don’t automatically accept every friend request you receive. Especially, when you do not know this person in real life, ask yourself if you want to permit this person to view your pictures, personal information and other stuff.
  3. What happens is Vegas… should stay in Vegas! See point 1 ;-)
  4. Think carefully about what you say on blogs, discussions or other opinion websites. Would you say these things out loud to someone in public as well?
  5. Make sure you use a secure password with numbers and lower/uppercase letters.
  6. Keep your antivirus up to date to prevent your PC from malware and consequently hackers accessing your private data.
  7. Never give away banking details or credit card data to websites not using the https:// in front of their domain.
  8. When you have to give bank or credit card detail, carefully read the privacy statements before giving them away!

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