Kaplan Test Prep Survey: Social Media Checks By College Admissions Officers Decline Due to Savvier Applicants and Shifting Attitudes

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)

Press Contact: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
Twitter: @KapTestNews@KaplanSATACT

Kaplan Test Prep's 2018 college admissions officers survey finds that 25 percent of them visit applicants' social pages to learn more about them, a decline from 40 percent three years ago.

Kaplan Test Prep’s 2018 college admissions officers survey finds that 25 percent of them visit applicants’ social pages to learn more about them, a decline from 40 percent three years ago.

(November 27, 2018) — A new Kaplan Test Prep survey finds that for the third year in a row, the percentage of college admissions officers who visit applicants’ social media profiles to learn more about them has declined, with only a quarter (25 percent) saying they do so, down from a high of 40 percent in 2015*. One possible contributing reason? They can’t find them.

Of the admissions officers who say they have visited applicants’ social media profiles, a majority (52 percent) say that students have become savvier about hiding their social media presence over the past few years or moving away from social communities where what they post is easy to find by people they don’t know. According to a 2018 report by research firm Piper Jaffray, about 85 percent of teens say they use both Instagram and Snapchat — two platforms which make it easy to share posts with people you want and hard to find for people you don’t — at least once per month. This compares to just 36 percent of teens who use Facebook once per month, a decrease from 60 percent two years ago. 

Another factor may be a shift in attitudes about checking social media. While 57 percent say that it’s “fair game” for them to visit applicants’ social media profiles like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to help them decide who gets in, it represents a significant drop from the 68 percent who held this view in Kaplan’s 2017 survey. Notably, students have been generally more accepting of this practice than admissions officers; in a separate Kaplan survey completed earlier this year, 70 percent said they believe it’s “fair game” for admissions officers to check social media.

As one admissions officers stated, “Unless it’s a matter of checking on something that might be a hate crime or endangering other people, then it becomes a safety issue, but otherwise it’s a privacy issue.”

Yariv Alpher, Kaplan Test Prep’s executive director of research, who has been tracking this issue for a number of years, thinks many factors explain the change of attitude and practice in admissions officers. “We’re seeing the result of combining trends here. On the one hand, students are savvier. They are more careful with what they post and are increasingly using more private social networks. In some cases they also create fake accounts that they only share with friends, but which are not easily attributed to them. On the other hand, admissions officers are increasingly conscious of the need to maintain students’ privacy, and are more inclined to use social media in a more targeted way. Regardless, social media remains an admissions factor for a significant number of colleges, so students should be mindful of what they share.”

Alpher continues to advise students to be thoughtful about what they post, like making a snap decision and posting an opinion that others may find offensive. He also cautions about spending weeks on perfecting a video library on YouTube in the hopes that admissions officers will organically come across it — he suggests applicants call it out to them instead. “Even as technology has allowed college admissions officers to discover more information about their prospective students, it seems they are sticking with the traditional elements of the application to help them make enrollment decisions, like standardized test scores, GPA, letters of recommendation, and personal statements. These factors overwhelmingly decide applicants’ paths. Social media remains a wildcard, though from our research, a somewhat diminishing one. We’ll be tracking to see if this trend continues or reverses.”

To speak with a college admissions expert at Kaplan Test Prep, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538.

*364 admissions officers from the nation’s top national, regional and liberal arts colleges and universities – as compiled from U.S. News & World Report – were polled by telephone between July and August 2018.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 100 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses. Among those tests are the SAT®, PSAT®, ACT®, GRE®, GMAT®, LSAT®, MCAT®, NCLEX-RN® and bar exams. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.


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ACT and Kaplan Test Prep Expand Digital Product Suite, Including More Free Learning Resources for Students Who Test with Fee Waivers

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)

Press Contacts: Tarah DeSousa, tarah.desousa@act.org, 319.337.1836
Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
Twitter: @ACT, @KapTestNews

Iowa City, Iowa (November 5, 2018) — Students who are eligible to take the ACT® test with a fee waiver now have more online learning resources to help them prepare for test day, with the introduction of ACT® Rapid Review by Kaplan. Last year more than 500,000 students qualified for a fee waiver.

ACT Rapid Review by Kaplan is a suite of products offering all the benefits of interactive livestreaming instruction and a comprehensive video library. Students can drop into a live virtual classroom, or watch recorded video sessions, all taught by expert instructors.

“We created ACT Rapid Review with the individual learner in mind,” said ACT’s Chief Commercial Officer, Suzana Delanghe. “We know that underserved learners, and students who register to take the ACT with a fee waiver, in particular, would benefit from more flexible and engaging learning resources. This solution with our partners at Kaplan provides those students with live and interactive instruction, and more opportunities to develop the skills and hone the knowledge they need to shine on test day and be successful in college and career.”

ACT Rapid Review offers three options to fit students’ unique needs and learning styles:

  • ACT® Rapid Review™—Live by Kaplan provides the last minute prep students need to be test ready with access to a virtual classroom and live teaching from expert instructors.
  • ACT® Rapid Review™—On Demand by Kaplan features a video archive where students can access a library of top-quality recorded instruction during the months leading up to test day.
  • ACT® Rapid Review™—All Access by Kaplan bundles the live and archived video offerings of ACT Rapid Review Live and ACT Rapid Review On Demand.

“We are excited to expand access to these best in class preparation options. With ACT Rapid Review by Kaplan, students receive exceptionally high-quality live and self-paced instruction that supports test takers incredibly well,” said Lee Weiss, vice president, Kaplan Test Prep. “We’re so proud to support students on their college admission journey with highly engaging, interactive preparation for the ACT, and to make these offerings so affordable for all students and free for those who need them most.”

In keeping with their shared mission to help fee waiver eligible students be prepared for test day, ACT and Kaplan will give the Rapid Review All Access offering for free to all students registering for the exam with a fee waiver. The Live, On Demand, and All Access products are available to all other test takers for $40 to $99.

Kaplan Test Prep’s expert teachers will provide instruction for all courses in the suite. In addition, ACT will continue to offer ACT Online Prep to all students.

ACT and Kaplan first partnered in April 2016 to create the only official online ACT preparation program offering live, content-based instruction from teachers.

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a national leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career. To learn more about ACT, visit us online at www.act.org.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier learning and technology provider for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry, and in interactive, livestreaming learning. With a comprehensive menu of digital offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 100 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses. Among those tests are the SAT®, PSAT®, ACT®, GRE®, GMAT®, LSAT®, MCAT®, NCLEX-RN® and bar exams. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.

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Kaplan Test Prep Survey: Hope for Young Voter Turnout May Lie Among America’s Future Professionals

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)

Press Contacts: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 212.453.7538
Twitter: @KapTestNews, @KaplanTestPrep

New York, NY (October 31, 2018) — Amid reports of possible low turnout among young voters, a new Kaplan Test Prep survey indicates that at least one segment of younger voters says it plans to participate at the ballot box: college-educated students who are planning to become future professionals. A new survey of nearly 400 18-29 year olds who are preparing for  graduate-level admissions or professional licensure exams shows that 93% of those who are registered to vote say they plan to do so in the midterm elections on November 6*. In contrast to a recent poll by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School that showed just 40 percent of young Americans 18-29 across the general U.S. population plan to vote in the midterms, Kaplan’s survey represented students preparing to be lawyers, doctors, nurses, business people, engineers, educators, psychologists and others — America’s future professional ranks.

Those surveyed mentioned immigration, healthcare, climate change, women’s rights and civil rights as the issues that are most motivating them to vote next month. As one respondent shared, “My education would be worthless if I did not take the opportunity to vote.” Another shared, “I believe if you don’t vote then you do not have the right to complain about the government.”

When asked what they feel are effective ways to make their voices heard, this group of young voters largely think that traditional activities like voting and getting out the vote are the best ways to channel their energies, rather than posting on social media.

  • Voting: 92%
  • Mobilizing others to vote: 55%
  • Contacting members of Congress: 39%
  • Running for public office: 35%
  • Working for campaigns/candidates: 35%
  • Organizing or participating in public demonstrations: 34%
  • Working in grassroots organizations: 33%
  • Signing petitions: 26%
  • Posting on social media: 26%
  • Contacting the media: 11%

“These survey results show a high level of interest in this year’s election among America’s future professionals, which is notable given that younger Americans generally vote at a much lower rate than their parents and grandparents.  It also offers insight into what their values are and what is motivating them to turn out,” said Yariv Alpher, executive director of research, Kaplan Test Prep. “Election Day is only a few days away and we’re looking forward to seeing how these particular voters make their voices heard.”

To learn more about where candidates running in your district or state stand on the issues, you can visit a nonpartisan site like USAFacts.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com) is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 100 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys, physicians and nurses. Among those tests are the SAT®, PSAT®, ACT®, GRE®, GMAT®, LSAT®, MCAT®, NCLEX-RN® and bar exams. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.

*Kaplan Test Prep conducted the survey via email in October 2018. It includes responses from 379 students who recently took a Kaplan GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, bar review, USMLE or NCLEX course.

Test names are the property of the respective trademark holders, none of whom endorse or are affiliated with Kaplan.

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