If you are worried about what might be revealed when an employer runs an education history check on you, read on. In this guide, we explain exactly what information they might find, how you can change it, and how you can get one step ahead of your new boss by seeing what your own background check reveals about your education.
When you apply for a job, it is highly likely you will have to be able to demonstrate that you have achieved a minimum academic standard. This might just be graduating from high school but other jobs will require a college degree or even more.
When you write a resume, you should detail your academic achievements clearly. But, believe it or not, some people are not always completely honest. According to one source, as many as 40% of people have lied on their resume with education being one of the most common things to fib about. The same survey found that 46% of resumes contained some form of inconsistency between an applicant’s academic claims and the records held by their educational institutions.
Little wonder then that when employers run background checks on prospective hires, education histories are one of the areas they are keen to check up on.
But what exactly will an education history check reveal? How much information will your new boss be able to get hold of? Where on your resume is ok to exaggerate a little, and where should you tell nothing but the truth? In this article, we will give you the full lowdown on education history checks, as well as reveal how you run a background check on yourself to see exactly what your new boss might find out.
What is an education background check?
An education history check is part of a standard employment process known as a background check. A background check is a search through public records to compile a profile of a person.
There is a huge amount of information held about everyone in the USA in the public domain. Previously, it was a big job to access and compile all this information. But the digital age has transformed this from a process that could take months into something that can be done in moments.
A background check can reveal a huge amount of information about someone including:
- Criminal records (state, county, and city)
- Licenses held (including weapons licenses)
- Education history (high school and college)
- Employment history
- Work authorization
- Credit history
- Driving record
- Social media profiles
On its own, this information doesn’t tell us a great deal. But when it is compiled into a report, it presents a vivid picture of someone and is invaluable for employers who want to be sure they are hiring the right person.
Can employers check your education history?
There are no shortage of companies that now make a living out of running employment background checks that comply with all the relevant laws and regulations and offer a service many employers value highly.
But there are also public background checking sites too. These websites are not restricted by the same regulations as professional background checking sites, and can often reveal more information.
These sites can be used for various different things, but one of the most popular functions is to run a background check on yourself. This is extremely useful if you are planning to apply for a job because it can give you a good indication of what information your employment background check will reveal. After all, unlike a credit check, the process is anonymous and no record of your curiosity will remain to incriminate you.
If you are worried about something that could show up or have exaggerated your educational history or employment history on your resume and are worried you might be caught out, running a background check on yourself is a good way to find out.
Most effective background checking site
The big question now is which background checking site should you use to run a check on yourself? After all, a quick search on Google will reveal hundreds of different sites all of which claim to be the best around.
The truth is that some are far better than others which is why we have been testing all the top background checking sites to see which is the best overall performer. The results of these tests are now in and we can exclusively reveal the top public background checking sites are:
Instant CheckMate is a great choice is you want to generate accurate results fast. Even with a bare minimum of information, they can produce impressive results and in our tests, we found you will get your report back faster than any other site.
Instant CheckMate produces easy-to-follow reports that look great and there are also nicely designed apps and a first-rate desktop dashboard to help manage your searches. Customer service is very helpful too, making for an impressive all-round service.
Prices start at $34.78 per month, or with a discount, a three-month subscription costs $27.82 per month. At these prices, Instant CheckMate is not the cheapest, but if you need accurate results in a hurry, they are worth the extra cost.
TruthFinder is another site impressively effective site that proved capable of generating the right information, no matter what type of search we threw at it. Even with search terms that were deliberately misleading, TruthFinder lived up to its name and dug out the right information.
The speed of their research does not quite match some other sites we tested. But the information they found is detailed, accurate, and presented in excellent reports. The apps and desktop dashboard used to manage your searches re both first-rate and extremely simple to use.
We were especially impressed with TruthFinder’s responsive 24/7 customer support service. This is available on a toll-free number and is great, especially for beginners. Prices are competitive, at $27.78 monthly, or $23.02 per month if you sign up on a bi-monthly basis. Using TruthFinder was an extremely positive experience and it is a site we recommend highly.
What does an education background check show?
When you run a background check, it is likely to show up some information about a person’s educational background. But this is not guaranteed. The amount of information available will depend on a number of variables including how much information you have placed in the public domain yourself.
Another big variable will be the high school or college a person studied at. Some of these are much better at uploaded graduate information to public records, as they are supposed to do. As a result, while details about graduates from one college will be easily accessed, those from another college can be much harder to find.
Yet another factor is how thorough the background checking service you use is. Every site uses different data sources but some are far more comprehensive in their approach than others. As a result, the education information you may find about someone can vary significantly from one site to another.
The two public background checking sites we have recommended in this article are all extremely thorough and if education information about a person is available, they are almost guaranteed to find it. Professional employment checking sites also tend to be pretty thorough too, although this is not always the case.
RELATED READING: Do employers always check your education background?
As a result, if you are wondering what information about your own education history will be shown on a check, it is sensible to assume that they will find anything that is out there.
What information will show up on an education verification?
If your education records are publicly available, there is a wide range of information you are likely to be able to find. These include:
- Institutions attended – Details of the high school, college, and any other significant education or training institution you attended.
- Dates of attendance – Along with the names of institutions, details about when you attended each school and college is also likely to be available.
- Programs of study – Your records are likely to show which courses you studied at college, and also detail which subjects you sat exams for at high school.
- Qualifications – Public records will usually include details of which qualifications you achieved and degrees you were awarded. Your grade point average is also likely to be available.
- Any associated honors – If you were awarded any associated honors or distinctions alongside your main qualifications, these are also likely to show up on public records.
Where do background checking sites find education history information?
Often, a person’s education history is part of the public record. Most colleges and high schools publish details of who has graduated and there are various public records that retain and store this data. Many background checking sites can access one or more of these sources and so reveal the education history of many people.
Not all high schools and colleges do publish such information though and others are rather inefficient at sharing the details. As a result, finding graduate details from some institutions is much harder than others.
But this is not the only way to find someone’s education history. It can sometimes be published on websites of organizations associated with colleges or high schools, such as alumni network websites.
Another fruitful source can be social media. A lot of people upload information about their education history onto sites like Facebook. Then there are professional networking sites such as LinkedIn which will often contain a full copy of someone’s resume, including the education history.
It is worth remembering that once this information is published online, it is there for good. Even if you edit or delete your LinkedIn profile, your old profile will remain logged on sites like the WayBack machine, which archive internet content. Not a lot of background checking sites will go to the effort of searches resources like this. But if an employer has suspicions about your education history, the option is there.
Is it possible to hide my education history
If you have exaggerated your education history on your resume and are worried you are going to get caught out, the first thing to do is run a background check on yourself using one of the sites we have recommended in this article. This will reveal what information about your education history is available in the public domain, and give you a fairly clear indication of what a prospective employer will find out.
If the information you are worried about doesn’t show, the chances are it is not held in the public domain or doesn’t exist at all. Problem solved.
If it does exist, there are a few options open to you. If the information has come from one of your own social media accounts, you can go in and change that account. As we have already explained, this won’t remove the information from the internet altogether. But it will make finding it a lot harder and the truth is most employers don’t have the time or inclination to check up on you that much.
If the information comes from a public record, there is not a lot that you can do about it. Your best option if that is the case is to be truthful on your resume. If it is too late for that, by finding out in advance that your background check will show that information, you at least have time to come up with an explanation.
Education history is a key detail that is included in most background checks. But the information that a background check can generate about your education can vary significantly.
In this article, we have explained in detail why this is and also given an explanation about exactly what information an education verification is likely to show.
We have also explained a little more about background checks generally and told you why it makes sense to run a background check on yourself to see what information shows up. Lastly, we have also recommended the top two public background checking sites to use.
Has your education history record ever caused you a problem when applying for a job? Have you successfully used a background checking site to find out about your own records and make sure your application is consistent? It is always helpful for our readers to hear about the real-life experiences of their peers so why not share yours with them using the comment box below.