Scholarship Hopefuls: Clean up Your Facebook Page

EducationHigh SchoolsSchoolsUniversity of Texas at Arlington

There's nothing like finding out you just won a full-ride scholarship worth nearly $200,000.

That's what happened last week at Trimble Tech High School in Fort worth. Six students are headed to TCU for free, if they choose to accept the Community Scholars scholarship.

Most do.

"I was kind of like, 'Is it real? Am I dreaming?'" said Trimble Tech High School senior Joselin Barajas, one of the award recipients.

"A lot of our students have worked really long and hard to meet that goal to go to college and to go for free..." said Trimble Tech counselor Nichole Drumgoole

If you're applying for scholarships, there a few things to consider. There's a lot to be done before you get to celebrate.

"It's been a lot of late nights staying up trying to perfect essays, trying to fix glitches. Most of the time I'll bug my teachers or counselors about it, 'What can I do now? What do I do now?'" said Barajas.

In nearly a decade as a high school counselor, Drumgoole says the rules of getting a scholarship are changing.

"They look at students, more community service, what students are doing outside of school," said Drumgoole.

Those who review your application, may not just be looking at your application.

"Don't put anything on your Facebook page that you don't want repeated, that you don't want anyone else to know," said Drumgoole.

According to a survey by Fastweb, a scholarship search site, about a quarter of scholarship providers now use social media sites and search engines in the reviewing process.

So, be careful what you post.

"It can come back and haunt you," said Drumgoole.

"I try to keep my personal life away from [Facebook]. That's more of just a place to still communicate with my friends," said Barajas.

We checked with some Tarrant county schools. TCU, Texas Wesleyan, and UT-Arlington all say they don't check up on applicants through social media. Still, spokespeople admitted, they know schools that do.

"A lot of the high-dollar scholarships, they can be really picky. A lot of the ivy league schools, they really can really get into the student's background," said Drumgoole.

So, keep it clean, if you're hoping to strike gold.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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