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Koolaidria sparks facebook name changing phenomenon

By Andrea Braver
Published: September 2010

A teenager’s Facebook often serves as a window into his or her life. But how would you feel if the college of your choice took a peak?  Recently, a wave of South seniors have decided to take the plunge and change their Facebook names to fabricated ones in order to remain unnoticed by college admission officers..
Many of the seniors who changed their Facebook names from their real name believe that doing so will prevent college admissions counselors from seeing their profiles when they type their names into the website’s search engine.
Senior Elena Origlio, who changed her name on Facebook in an attempt to conceal her identity to colleges, is aware that colleges look at certain pictures posted and comments made on social networking sites such as Facebook.
“Because although I am a good student, I am a teenager and may have some less than professional pictures or comments up, Origlio said.
It has been discovered, however, that this name-changing act does not actually prevent college admissions counselors from seeing students’ Facebook profiles. For those seniors who have done so in order to deceive colleges, unfortunately there will be no deception.
Due to the fact that many students have changed their names only recently and their real names were associated with their profiles for far longer, their real profiles will pop up when their real name is typed into the search engine of Facebook.
Some seniors do have something to be nervous about. The rumor that colleges check social networking websites to monitor and observe their applicants’ behavior has been confirmed as true.
According to Kaplan, an ACT/SAT prep company, one out of 10 college admissions counselors from the top 500 schools in America utilize the ability to view their applicants’ social networking pages.  Senior Dan Sazer, who spearheaded the name-changing revolution, changed his name to “Koolaidria Razor as a way of expressing his creativity and sense of humor.
While he did plan on reaping the college-related benefits, once he realized that admissions counselors could still access his profile, he didn’t find the need to change his name back.
Kaplan also reported that 25% of the time admissions counselors look at their applicants’ online pages, the result is a positive one. However, conversely, 38% of the time, doing so invokes a negative affect.
These results can be scary and it makes sense for students to want to hide from colleges.
Origlio found that she, along with a good majority of her friends, changed their names on Facebook because of colleges.
“It doesn’t mean we are bad kids, it just means getting into college is important to us, Origlio said.
Sazer agreed, feeling that while he changed his name for reasons other than deceiving colleges, a multitude of students changed theirs because of solely college. “I think the trend will continue until kids are safely into college, Sazer said.
But how far is too far when it comes to colleges seeking information on their applicants. Senior Anastasia Lymar believes this line has already been crossed. “What kids post on their own pages is private, and what they communicate to their friends does not reflect on their academics, she said.
Senior Jacob Tepper disagrees. “I don’t think colleges searching applicants on Facebook is inherently wrong. If students are posting material on the Internet they are doing so for people to see and have to understand that, he said.
On the other hand senior Michele Goldstein is a bit ambivalent about the subject. “I think kids should be able to have their own private lives, but if they are misrepresenting themselves on their application colleges have a right to know, she said.
Seniors Grant Henderson and Bryan Cheng, however, entered this recent college admission related fad for entirely different reasons.
Cheng expressed that he changed his name for fun and felt that the reasoning behind his decision mirrored that of most of the people he knows who made the shift.
“I feel it’s rare that colleges will go on one’s Facebook page¦there are a lot of other ways you can hide your Facebook, Cheng said, regarding the name change, “Plus, changing your name doesn’t make you hidden from colleges.
Henderson, who loves a particular song, chose to put this song’s title into his newly improved Facebook name. Similarly to Cheng, he didn’t change his name with the intention of avoiding the wrath of colleges.
Henderson, however, did admit that colleges not being able to view his profile would be a bonus.
Regardless of the discrepancies in motivation, this name-changing event has become a quickly spreading phenomenon. And as for the overtired and disinterested admissions officers, these pseudonyms are sure to provide a humorous diversion.

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