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Do adcoms 'Google' people?


socioholic
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They might--it only takes a few minutes to find someone. But I would say it's unlikely that they will have time to do this for every single applicant. They might do it for the shortlist/interview list (if the school does that) though, or maybe to get a bit more information about an applicant they are not sure about. However, some applications formally say something like they will only use the information provided in the application to judge you (and even explicitly prohibit you linking them online materials) so that everyone is judged on an equal platform. If this is the case, I would suppose that they will stay true to their word and not 'Google' anyone.

 

However, I know that faculty will search for things you might mention. Like, if you say you went to School X, and they don't know a lot of about it, they will look it up and see--especially for international schools, they will want to know the general ranking of your school in your country. They might look up your papers to see if they are good ones or fluff publications. I've seen faculty do this.

 

Also, once you get accepted, many schools will "announce" your names to the current grad students, especially just before a visit weekend or similar event. Most grad students I know, including myself, will probably 'Google' the names at this point!

 

So, I think it's important to make sure an online search result for you does not turn up anything bad. It's great if you have an academic/research website that comes up when people look for you but it's not necessary, I think, to do this at the grad school application stage.  You would definitely want to have one (can be hosted on your grad department server) once you start grad school though, so if you do have lots of extra time, it won't hurt to design a webpage now. But, if you are busy, it's far far better for you to spend your current time working on applications or courses or research etc. 

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Almost definitely, at least for the shortlist of interview invites.

 

You should get an academia.edu account and stalk your "someone found your profile using google!" hits with the rest of us. ;)

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I have my Acedemia.edu account set to track Googles of me (it does not tell you who, but where. Factoring in timing, you get a pretty good sense).

 

In the last 8 application efforts, the only application-related Googling of me was made by a potential supervisor, never by an adcom.

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I agree that it is more likely the adcom has too many other things to do and will not google applicants.  However potential supervisors/advisors/grad students may do just that, much like potential employers may do that as well.  I think it is better to assume someone might google you and just make sure your online presence would not make them question your ethics or judgment.  

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As anecdotal evidence to MsD's post, My linkedin (which is the first hit when I google my name) got a lot of hits in December/January/February from supervisors/advisors/grad students of one of the labs I wanted to get into. All in all, it was about one hit for each program I applied to. I would also caution that this is a "your mileage may vary" sort of thing, since my programs were tiny so it makes sense that they'd want to make sure I was the type of student they would like. A larger program may not do that.

In sum, I would just say you should do your best to keep your online presence professional!

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My LinkedIn got hit by the program administrators from the schools I was invited to interview with, and then most of the PIs I was interviewing with. I was later told by an admin that she was a little frustrated when she found a Facebook page of a girl who hadn't finished high school but matched all other demographics; apparently my cousin that has the same first and last name and lives in the same town has her page completely open with questionable pictures... I'm glad we don't look alike, and I'm glad her educational information was there so she could figure out it wasn't me!

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Please keep in mind that one can be identified on line not just by your actual name, but also by crucial information including your DOB, your current location, your academic and personal interests, the schools you've attended, the schools you want to attend, your writing style, the food you eat/drink, and the car you drive.

 

#PERSEC

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Guest Gnome Chomsky

Please keep in mind that one can be identified on line not just by your actual name, but also by crucial information including your DOB, your current location, your academic and personal interests, the schools you've attended, the schools you want to attend, your writing style, the food you eat/drink, and the car you drive.

 

#PERSEC

Your favorite thread. 

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Your favorite thread. 

You should stop while you can.

 

It is only out of resepect to your armed service to the United States of America that I tolerate your disrespect.

Edited by Sigaba
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Please keep in mind that one can be identified on line not just by your actual name, but also by crucial information including your DOB, your current location, your academic and personal interests, the schools you've attended, the schools you want to attend, your writing style, the food you eat/drink, and the car you drive.

 

#PERSEC

 

Do these adcoms you're referring to happen to be freelance sleeper Russian double agent super spies?

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