Private investigators and Internet researchers may have to look beyond public records and personal information databases to develop profiles of students. Student directories, which can list a student’s full name, email, field of study, address and year of graduation, confirm attendance and suggest other research avenues.
I searched a name at a search engine that returned the student’s Facebook link. Her Facebook page had limited information available, but the public profile stated she was a student at Hofstra University, graduating in 2009. Search the Hofstra student directory by partial first or last name to confirm enrollment and to go to the student’s personal Web page, if she has one. The school also has a Student E-Mail Locator, searchable by partial first or last name. This can be a useful tool to confirm that your subject is enrolled in a particular college. The site doesn’t release the email address, but it will forward your email to the student so she can choose whether to contact you.
Not everyone has a Facebook or MySpace page, so don’t stop there when you’re looking for Web pages for a student. Hofstra also hosts student personal Web pages, but you wouldn’t find this one indexed in a major search engine, only through a student directory name search at the Hofstra site. When you’re locked out of one site, look elsewhere. You may get lucky and find your student here. Remember, not all Web pages are going to be found through a search at Google or Yahoo! Build on the personal data you collect to shape the keywords you use in searching and the sites you go to.
Looking for other student directories? If you don’t find it at the school site, or you’re looking more broadly, here’s one search query example.
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