On April 16 the Boston Globe reported that college admissions offices have begun to use student-written blogs as a medium to entice potential applicants. These blogs are not what you might think. They do not necessarily come off cheery and in total praise of the school. The example the Globe used was one of the blogs on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology admissions page written by a student named Lulu Liu.
In it Liu describes the non-academic parts of college life. The all-nighters, anxiety, even her semi-battle with anorexia due to her over-studying. These are the parts applicants need to know about entering college life. While information about parties and the academic standings of the schools are all over the Web, uncensored information about a college kid’s everyday life is not so prevalent. And that’s why these blogs work. The Globe said the blogs “were among the top three most useful” pieces of information when applicants were deciding whether to attend MIT or not. I wish I had had access to such information when I went to college. I may not have transferred after my first semester.
What makes these blogs work is the latitude the admissions office gives the students to express their true feelings in the world of learning. If the blogs just talked about lunch at the Union and walks on the main square, then no applicant would read them. I applaud the institutions that allow this transparency, and I suspect it will not only help recruit more applicants but possibly even lower transfer rates. Without surprises, new students will know what to expect, and will not be as quick to leave if things go wrong.