Social networking ruining future of Britain’s brightest?

With more than 360 British universities searching applicants online, a straight-A college student with impeccable school reports and a real dedication to their education may no longer be accepted by their chosen university because of their family’s background, some photos they had taken on a night out or their secret extra curricular activities.

Figures released from people search website, yasni, reveals that more than 360 British universities are carrying out free background checks on applicants via online searches; checking their social networking sites, reading blogs they have commented on and looking at pictures they have uploaded onto the web.

Social networking sites could be the future for university recruiting efforts and research from yasni has found that Oxford and Cambridge University, Britain’s most elite places to study, are using yasni more actively than any other university, with several thousand searches coming from both universities in the last four months.

The top five British universities using yasni are, in order: Oxford University; Cambridge University; The University of Nottingham; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Manchester.

The Top 10 UK and US universities using yasni as people search source are, in order: Oxford University; Cambridge University; Harvard University; Stanford University; University of New York; Yale University; University of Nottingham; University of California Los Angeles; Sheffield Hallam University; Princeton University.

Steffen Ruehl, CEO and cofounder of yasni.co.uk, commented on the findings: “These statistics highlight how important it is for people to monitor their online reputation and be aware of what image they are portraying on the net. It is no longer enough for a student to have straight A’s and strong reports; if they party every night of the week and write inappropriate comments on a blog, they could be hindering their future opportunities.

“Once again I stress that these social pages are just that; social. Just because an applicant has a wild night out once a month doesn’t make them unsuitable. Universities must be sure to use the information intelligently and not disregard a very suitable applicant,” he continued.