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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Survey shows some law schools review applicants' online behavior

A new study might cause future law students to rethink what weekend party photos they post online for the whole world to see.

Kaplan Test Prep recently released a survey that showed 41 percent of law school admissions officers check on students' digital lives.

The survey, conducted this summer by phone, included data from law school, college and business school admissions officers.

It included responses from 128 of the nation's 200 American-Bar-Association-accredited law schools, according to Kaplan's news release.

The data showed 41 percent of law school admissions officers have Googled an applicant, and 37 percent have checked an applicant on Facebook or another social networking site.

"It tends to correlate with the legal profession itself," said Jeff Thomas, the Kaplan Test Prep director of pre-law programs. He said the legal profession takes ethics seriously.

More undergraduate students from UF apply to law school than any other school in the country, Thomas said.

In the 2009-2010 school year, 1,183 UF undergrads applied to law school, according to the Law School Admission Council, the organization that administers the LSAT.

However, the UF Levin College of Law is not in the 41 percent that checks applicants' digital lives.

"We only review what is presented by the applicant in the application file," said Noemar Castro, director of admissions for the Levin College of Law.

Not only do law schools most frequently check on applicants, but they also discover the most damaging content to applicants.

Of the law school admissions offices that search for applicants online, 32 percent found something that hurt students' application.

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UF social media specialist Bruce Floyd said law schools might look at a student's character through his or her online presence.

"Students need to be aware they are creating sociable history," Floyd said.

Finance senior Jerry Goldsmith, 21, is waiting to hear back from law schools about whether he has been accepted. He said law schools have every right to look up prospective students online.

"I think it is within a law school's means to Google applicants because many prospective law school students want to be considered for more than their GPA and test scores," he said.

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