Some Scholarship Providers Learn More About Applicants Online

Posting embarrassing information online or documenting illegal behavior could come back to haunt a high-school student looking for college scholarships. About a quarter of scholarship providers use Web searches and/or social media to learn more about applicants, according to a new survey.

Three-quarters of scholarship providers that use those techniques look for red flags, and more than half try to find out more about an applicant’s personality traits and communication skills, according to the survey, which was conducted by Fastweb, a scholarship-search Web site, and the National Scholarship Providers Association.

Of those providers that do screen applicants online, a third have denied someone a scholarship because of information found there.

Mark Kantrowitz, who publishes Fastweb, provided some suggestions for scholarship applicants along with the survey results. Applicants should make sure they have an appropriate e-mail address, he said, and also search for themselves online to see what comes up.

About a quarter of the 300 scholarship providers belonging to the association responded to the survey.

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