It's two days from May 1, otherwise known as Decision Day. Many students are rejoicing that they got into their first choice. Others are happy to have gotten in anywhere. But there are still many other students wondering why they didn't get in.
The answer just might be Big Data.
Colleges want to know if a student is really going to attend and then spend its recruiting dollars on that student. Sarah Lawrence College uses the big data it collects to increase its yield rates. "How interested an applicant was is heavily correlated with the student who is going to be a good fit and stay on past the first year.”
However, colleges not only want students who want to be at their schools but also "students that will be successful.” To do this, schools analyze your data to determine your likelihood of completing a college program. What data are they looking at? Well, of course they're interested in your test scores and grades, but they're also interested in your social media.
Some schools like Ithaca studied social media data "to see which students [are] employing what behaviors ... most likely to enroll and stay [in college] — how many photos they uploaded to their profiles, for instance, and how many ...friends they made. The idea is to learn how interested a candidate is in the college," a college official said.
Need more insight? This FastCoExist article is more clear:
"Even major life decisions like college admissions and hiring are being affected. You might think that a college is considering you on your merits, and while that's mostly true, it's not entirely. Pressured to improve their rankings, colleges are very interested in increasing their graduation rates and the percentage of admitted students who enroll. They have now have developed statistical programs to pick students who will do well on these measures. These programs may take into account obvious factors like grades, but also surprising factors like their sex, race, and behavior on social media accounts. If your demographic factors or social media presence happen to doom you, you may find it harder to get into school—and not know why."
A College Counselor who asks and answers the tough questions.