Campus Life

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, 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.