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MIT staff blogger Dave McOwen

2009: Let There Be Bloggers! by Dave McOwen

Hello everyone! So should I introduce myself or talk about the 2009 Blogger application? That’s a silly question, isn’t it.

In the annals of competition there are iconic achievements: the gold medal, the yellow jersey… the coveted 50 pixel avatar of an Admissions Blogger.

Sure you won’t be hounded with endorsement deals (well okay maybe Snively is) but it’s a pretty big deal to us. The annual blogger selection is like the Admissions office’s own running of the bulls, only with more emoticons and Dr. Horrible references… and no bulls… and quite a few vegetarians, actually.

It’s not a perfect metaphor.

All MIT undergraduates are encouraged to apply. That being said, I have to bear the bad news that we’re primarily looking for 4 incoming freshmen to compliment our contingent of talented upperclassmen. However if your first thought is, “Bah! They will all fall weeping before the pure, as yet unwitnessed genius of my rapier wit!” (or hopefully something a bit less piratical) then show us what you’ve got. I’m not saying that we absolutely won’t add upperclassmen, just that the bar is set pretty high.

The exception will be for video. We’re looking to add video to the blog this fall, so a video podcast, killer clip or a demonstration of creative production skills would go a long way toward convincing us that we just can’t live without another upperclassman blogger.

The application process is similar to last year. The selection committee will include our senior bloggers Jess, Keri and Cristen.

2009 Blogger Application

To be considered for a blogger position, you should email me (dmcowen at the usual) by 5pm on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 and provide the following:

Blog/writing stuff

  • Provide a link to your “portfolio.” This will be the single most important part of your application.While you do not need to have a current blog, we have found that students who already keep blogs are the most active bloggers and best make the transition to being public bloggers for the MIT Admissions program. While we cannot say for certain that we will only hire someone with an active blog, we will have a preference for folks who do have active blogs.


If you do not currently keep a blog, you may wish to start a new blog and start writing over the next couple weeks. Or, you may just submit a portfolio of writings/videos.

    ‚Ä®‚Ä®If you do have a current blog, please send a link to it. If your blog is locked/protected, please also include a way for the committee to read the entries you’d like us to see. (You don’t need to clean it up — we will understand that a very public, unlocked site would contain different writing than a locked, personal journal)

    ‚Ä®‚Ä®If you post regularly on any admissions (or related) forums such as College Confidential, please provide URLs and username/screenname/etc. (If you don’t, no worries — neither do I)

Biographical stuff

  • Tell us your major, or (for freshmen) possibilities of your major.‚Ä®
  • Tell us what activities hope to become involved with at MIT, or (for upperclassmen) what you’re currently involved with on campus.‚Ä®
  • Let us know your living group. For freshmen, tell us which dorm you’ve been temped in. For upperclassmen, tell us where you live, and, if applicable, any FSILG affiliations.

Short Answer Essays (complete both)

  • Short answer #1 – In a paragraph or two, describe why you want to be an admissions blogger and what unique things you feel you’ll contribute to the program.‚Ä®
  • Short answer #2 – In either a video or a written post with photos, introduce us to a part of your life, house, town, etc. that you find wildly interesting.

Good luck! For the curious, links to previous blogger application results: 2008 & 2007.

43 responses to “2009: Let There Be Bloggers!”

  1. Snively says:

    Mandatory third essay:
    If you were to organize a flash mob in Boston, what would said flash mob do, where would they be, and how many people would there be (participating and watching)?

    If you don’t submit this essay as well, you will be considered lame and assumed to lack work ethic/desire to be a blogger.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know whether I should take that seriously or not…

  3. Snively says:

    I should probably add a


    to the end of that comment.


  4. Liz ('14?) says:

    I’d love to be an MIT admissions blogger!

    …except first I have to get in. *sigh* Good luck to all applying!

  5. NathanArce says:

    Kha ha ha, that would only make it more intimidating, Snively XP

    Good luck to you, Liz! I don’t think there are all that many people applying that are reading the admissions blogs… since I don’t think the app is up yet (actually have no idea). But that is based mostly on personal experience and has already been proven to be a very inaccurate example, so never mind raspberry

  6. Liz ('14?) says:

    Thanks, Nathan smile

    oh and just in case i wasn’t clear, I meant applying for blogger-ness, although of course I wish all fellow 2014 hopefuls good luck as well wink

  7. PC says:

    Le sigh – if only you took graduate student bloggers!

  8. Oasis '11 says:

    +1 for Snively’s essay.

    dooooo itttttt

  9. Anonymous says:

    the 100$ question: do admissions bloggers get payed? what are the rates per post or is there a minimum post count? (“you shouldnt be doing it for the money” aside =D)

  10. Snively says:

    Yes, bloggers do get paid. It’s not enough to live on, just enough to thank us for our time.

    It’s by the hour, with a 4 hour/week cap, so I’ll let you guess what the pay is per hour.

  11. Affi '13 says:


    Peanut butter cookies are GROSS!

    And I agree with you on the raisin thing – totally wouldn’t have said oatmeal raisin cookies are better (even though they are =P). Oatmeal cookies are quite amazing though.

    Why would you want the crumbs of 400 cookies on the street though?

  12. Affi '13 says:


    Peanut butter cookies are GROSS!

    And I agree with you on the raisin thing – totally wouldn’t have said oatmeal raisin cookies are better (even though they are =P). Oatmeal cookies are quite amazing though.

    Why would you want the crumbs of 400 cookies on the street though?

  13. Affi '13 says:

    Double-post fail. >.Double-post fail. >.<

  14. Dave says:

    Wow. Note to self: don’t post just before going home for the day smile

    @ Liz

    Can’t wait to read your application (along with several hundred others) this fall. Are you already blogging (hint hint)?

    @ PC

    We have our first grad blogger this year, so go ahead and convince us that we’d be fools to leave it at one.

    @ Anon in BD

    Points for putting the infinitely amusing picture of 200 Yans screaming (literally and figuratively) along in mechanized shopping carts. Negative points for shoplifting, which is against the Hack Code of Ethics. Besides, wouldn’t it be more fun to have your army of cart warriors racing to score the best swag from the Reuse list?

  15. Labib (?14) says:


    I’m Anon in BD actually. I really don’t know why I posted anonymously. I totally forgot about ReUse, I agree that’s a better idea but I needed a flash mob but that’s the first thing that came to mind.

    One trend in blogger selection has been that for the past two years someone who guest posted for CPW has ended up becoming an admissions blogger, I wonder if that’s just coincidence or if doing that is somehow a plus.

  16. Piper '12 says:

    Snively – Some things are unwise to put in writing wink

  17. Liz ('14?) says:

    @Dave – actually, I do have a blog already, but only my friends read it. Several hundred applications? I thought it was more like several thousand. smile

    and you should introduce yourself. When I saw that post I was like “O.O who’s Dave McOwen” … and I clicked on the link and saw that you were the “new Ben,” but you should still introduce yourself.

  18. Snively says:

    It’s no secret. Before deciding to pay bloggers they asked everybody if it would cheapen the blogs, how would people feel, etc.

    It’s written in all sorts of places that blogging positions are paid, it’s all part of a transparent admissions office.

  19. Labib (?14) says:

    It seems like one grad blogger would be insufficient, given that an MIT undergrad student staying back for grad studies would have a totally experience compared to someone coming in for grad school from another college. Just a thought.

  20. Piper '12 says:

    Er, I was referring to what my flash mob would do raspberry

  21. Dave says:

    @ Liz

    As much as I’m an avid reader, I think reading all 15K+ applications would kill me. We divvy them up between the staff in a complicated process described here. The staff blog about it as we go through the “reading season” so you’ll be able to follow along as I slowly realize what I’ve gotten myself into smile

    @ Labib

    This is my first time as part of the selection process so I can’t really say if CPW was a factor, though I can say that demonstrated blogging ability is a huge plus.

    As for the Grad student blogger(s), while we love showcasing the fantastic things Grad students do here at MIT, in the end we’re still all about Undergraduate Admissions. We’re trying to find a good balance, though. Have you talked to Graduate Admissions about starting their own blog?

  22. Affi '13 says:

    Ohhh, so it was a joke… I thought it might be, but this IS MIT – the place where random is the norm.

    Flash mob? 400 people… simultaneously pulling out peanut butter cookies (1 per person) and stepping on them with their right foot (showing the world their disapproval for the nasty ‘treats’). BUT, they would all sweep up the crumbs because here at MIT, we care about our environs and we don’t want ants (and crumbs) all over the ground. Onlookers (4000) would applaud and wave banners supporting tastier cookies, like chocolate chip and oatmeal) then neatly disperse, singing ‘Come Together’ by the Beatles. Because everyone wants to shoot Coca Cola.

    THAT would be awesome.

  23. Anon in BD says:

    Flash mob – 200 people, suddenly finding themselves with motorized shopping carts, filled with items pilfered from the nearest supermarket. 100 carts on each side, chucking the stolen items at each other with 300 wannabe MIT admissions bloggers looking on, taking pictures and videos and then racing to blog about it while Snively looks from afar giving evil smiles to everyone he comes across…. Perfect.

  24. Labib (?14) says:

    I really hadn’t been to the graduate admissions website until now, but now that I have it feels.. so empty without student blogs. I guess I will drop a line for student blogs in the grad admissions website.

    Then again, looking at it from another perspective, undergrad admissions is where the student blogs are needed most because it is at this stage that students need the most help deciding where to go.

    So this graduate student blog issue could go either way and I really won’t know until it’s time for me to apply for grad school.

  25. NathanArce says:

    ^100% realistic. No, not sarcasm :3

    As for Affi’s post, peanut butter cookies aren’t that bad O.o Much better than oatmeal raisin, anyway (I don’t like raisins… oh, and I know a couple people who prefer peanut butter over chocolate chip). What you meant by “tastier” should’ve been mango paprika cayenne cinnamon coconut chocolate chip bacon cookies. (and as an afterthought, ants need food too >.^100% realistic. No, not sarcasm :3

    As for Affi’s post, peanut butter cookies aren’t that bad O.o Much better than oatmeal raisin, anyway (I don’t like raisins… oh, and I know a couple people who prefer peanut butter over chocolate chip). What you meant by “tastier” should’ve been mango paprika cayenne cinnamon coconut chocolate chip bacon cookies. (and as an afterthought, ants need food too >.< If you’re doing this outdoors, leave the crumbs; it’s BETTER for the environment than throwing them in the dumpster)

  26. NathanArce says:

    Again, forgetting that anything after a left directional pad doesn’t show up until a right one appears =.=” Anyway, the last thing I said was “If you’re doing this outside, leave the crumbs; it’s BETTER for the environment than throwing them in the dumpster”

  27. Anonymous says:

    i’ve been waiting for this smile

  28. Kristina '13 says:

    Oh here we go. Good luck to everyone smile

  29. Arush says:

    Dear Dave,

    Dave I enjoyed your posts.

    I have a question since you seem like a very mature level headed gentleman.

    And I’m not quite sure who at MIT can answer this question …

    I am an international student interested in enrolling in the University’s “Undergraduate Computer Science Program.”

    I have given my SAT, Toefl and Ielts test in the year 2000 and have good scores for all three tests.

    I understand the application process at your university requires me to have the testing agencies send you my score reports.

    My question is:

    Can I send the university my score reports even though I gave both my SAT, Toefl and Ielts in the year 2000 ?

    Awaiting your reply.



  30. Ventego says:

    Are you a professional journalist? You write very well.

  31. jdk says:


    Undergrad admission blogs make sense since the undergrad experience encompasses a wide breadth of activities and interests, and prefrosh select their schools based on such (or at they should). While there are some clubs and other organizations for grad students, the grad student experience is (almost) purely academic/research. So, while it would be interesting to read about what the grad students are up to (as far as individual research is concerned) having an admission blog for grad school is kind of pointless. People don’t choose grad schools because of the extracurricular activities.

  32. Jess says:


    Ugh I’m so old. :(

  33. Dave says:

    @ Ventego

    I’m not a journalist by training, though I have written a few articles and items in my time. Thanks for the compliment!

    @ Jess

    How do you think we feel? smile

    @ Arush

    You should still be able to submit your old scores. A few links that may help:<ul><li>College Board: sending old scores</li><li>MIT: standardized testing requirements</li><li>MIT: tips for international applicants</li><ul>


  34. Liz ('14?) says:

    Dave – makes sense. For some reason I thought you all would take a much larger chunk of the applications… not really sure why I thought that. I guess I should brush up on my math skills before applying. wink

  35. johnny says:

    Hello. Thank you for this great info! Keep up the good job!

  36. Vivian '12 says:

    It’s that time of year again..! Good luck to everyone =)

  37. Anon says:

    @ Ventego, Clemento,

    Wow, at least spam-bots are getting nicer. Honestly, I think you’ve just passed the FIRST posters… its a sad world we live in.

  38. '13 says:

    Will you be reading our entire blogs? Or the most recent posts?

  39. VAL '14? says:

    I’m with Liz (’14?).

    Getting in is the first step. smile

  40. Dave says:

    I remember when SPAMbots sent intriguingly random strings like “existential nutmeg crisis.” Ah the good old days.


    We’ll be reading a selection, so if you have posts you think particularly showcase your voice, by all means let us know (set up a category, send us a set of links, etc.)

  41. teinby says:

    thank you! I really liked this post!