Do Colleges Look At Browsing History?

If there is one thing that scares anybody more than anything, it is the exposure of their deepest, darkest secrets. this can be wondering if colleges look at browsing history. let’s see the following.

Do Colleges Look At Browsing History?

The world of today is becoming more digitized before our very eyes. So, is this something that could also be happening?

So, To The Most Pressing Question…

Are the rumors true? Do colleges really look through our browsing histories? 

The answer to this is most likely NO.

A survey was carried out in fall 2020 and on average, about 84,865 applicants registered into 10 colleges in the USA. so, no, colleges do not look browsing history. Now, imagine the time and resources that would go into checking if colleges look at browsing history of each individual’s.

But, is there a tiny bit of possibility they can check your browsing history? Well, let’s break things down shall we?

School Accounts

On admission, students are provided a school account which they use for basically anything school related. Checking results, registering for courses, submitting assignments, to name but a few. 

These accounts are directly connected to the school system and are constantly watched.

ICT Centers, Public Wi-Fi and Computers

The instance you connect to a public internet provider, your IP address is instantly sent out. This can help whoever to trace and track you down. Schools provide computers for students’ convenience but one thing most people forget is that even if you delete your browsing history, your internet signature has been sent to the master server.

You are probably rethinking using that cafe’s internet even though the connection is super fast. Relax! Not everyone has the technical knowhow on how to trace an IP address (but almost anything can be learnt through just a few clicks…)


No, not those delicious treats that grandma is baking in the oven. I’m talking about those pesky pop ups that force you to accept those terms and conditions that you will never read even if you were paid to. These things collect and send out some of your information once you click on them. Don’t misquote me, cookies are not the problem (because they help in more ways than we can imagine), people are the problem. Always ensure you are on a safe website before accepting any terms or cookies.

But, Can Colleges Decide To Go Through My Browsing History?

Most definitely, yes!

The college has provided you with a laptop in which they’ve installed a lot of software. 

They can monitor the traffic and see what you’ve been searching. That said, unless you’re searching some pretty heavy topics (for instance visiting and opening more than one site at a time)

It doesn’t matter whether you hide your browsing history because you are using your school account so, they can see it and decide to go through it.

Some colleges are now using personal data like browsing history to rank applicants. Seeing that the amount of applicants is increasing drastically yearly, they have seen a way to cut down their workload by a great margin.

So, potential college applicant or college student, you might really want to look through your browsing history and check if you are on the safe side.

Note; Colleges have no way to access your search history during the application process. They don’t have access to your computer or phone and you aren’t really using their Wi-Fi. They can’t access your search history or care about your personal curiosities and searches during your own time.

Typically at the beginning of a school year when student computers are issued, you must sign a disclaimer allowing any member of the staff and administration to have access to your account. (Kind of like those pesky privacy and terms and conditions that you have no choice but to accept)

With all that being said, what steps should you take to manage your digital footprint?

Your digital footprint includes everything you’ve ever shared online plus everything other companies have shared about you (those cookies!)

And since we’ve been rambling off about colleges checking out browsing history, I can’t just avoid the important parts of teaching you how to protect yourself.

 We all know this aspect, but apart from the obvious step of avoiding unethical sites. Here are some other tips:

  • GOOGLE THYSELF: I mean, who hasn’t done that before? (No one? Well that’s awkward…), you can easily find problematic content and remove them.
  • PRIVACY: Don’t forget to turn on your privacy on all social networks. Some social networks have a setting that keeps your public posts from being brought up by search engines.
  • PUBLIC IMAGE: Relate what you post to what you want to be viewed as in public. If you want to be viewed as a creative person, post some of your work.
  • BE SAFE: Be careful with who shares sensitive information like pictures, phone number, and email address – to avoid a bad case of “had I known”.
  • CLEAR CACHE: A cache is a fast temporary storage where recently or frequently used information is stored to avoid having to reload it from a slower storage medium. When an app or site is opened these cache start working in the background. Ensure to clear them as frequently as possible.
  • MEETUPS: Seeing as everything is becoming digital, even meeting new people. Be cautious and watch out for scammers, hackers and catfishes who find means to reveal all your secrets.
  • ACCEPTING: Be careful of accepting emails, opening files or documents from unknown people. They could contain viruses which could break down your secured information.


There isn’t really any need to fear or worry because colleges only go through the drastic step of checking your browsing history only when there is a cause to do so.

And recall that there are way too many students for them to start checking your individual histories.

So, in conclusion, colleges can and could check your browsing history but as it is not an easy task, they only do that when they have a pressing need for it. For example they do this to reduce the number of applicants or catch a delinquent. 

Finally, watch what you do online and stay safe.