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Articles / Admissions / Bloggers As Defoggers

May 20, 2020

Bloggers As Defoggers

One of my most often cited pieces of college research advice is "Ask a current student." Another is "You gotta trod the sod," which means "You have to visit the colleges to which you're applying." Now, thanks to the Internet, my first mantra has gotten a lot easier to realize.

In an interesting article on UPI.com, we learn about some students who are serving up real-world answers and lifting the haze about life on campus and in the classroom for prospective applicants. Here's the scoop.

Student bloggers aid college admissions

NEW YORK, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Students who want to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can get an up-close look at campus life through student blogs, admissions officers say.

MIT pays its bloggers up to $40 a week for offering their thoughts on anything that might interest prospective students, The New York Times reported Friday.

Topics discussed run the gamut from navigating the application process to dealing with the institute's intense workload.

"There've been several times when I felt like I didn't really fit in at MIT," wrote Cristen Chinea, a senior. "I nearly fell asleep during a Star Wars marathon. I was bored out of my mind."

Dozens of colleges, including Amherst Bates, Carleton, Colby, Vassar, Wellesley and Yale, are embracing student blogs on their Web sites, the Times says.

"There is no better way for students to learn about a college than from other students," said Jess Lord, dean of admissions for Pennsylvania's Haverford College.

The New York Times' Jacques Steinberg has similar news:

Student Bloggers . . . on Their College Web Sites

In an article posted on The Times's Web site, my colleague Tamar Lewin writes that “dozens of colleges — including Amherst, Bates, Carleton, Colby, Vassar, Wellesley and Yale — are embracing student blogs on their Web sites, seeing them as a powerful marketing tool for high school students."

But, she adds, “so far, none of the blogs match the interactivity and creativity of M.I.T.'s, where they are posted prominently on the admissions homepage, along with hundreds of responses from prospective applicants — all unedited." The M.I.T. bloggers are even paid — $10 an hour, for up to four hours a week.

Ms. Lewin also notes, though, that “not every admissions office has been so ready to welcome uncensored student writing."

Now, if applicants could just find a way to trod the sod of their candidate schools via the Internet, there would be fewer reasons to leave home during the ultra-hectic senior year. Maybe one could trod the sod if one "Twitters the Critters" on campus, so to speak.

Where's there's an ISP, there's usually a way.


Don't forget to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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