The MIT Admissions blogs started for several reasons. One of the reasons was the extremely dull, lackluster nature of the old admissions website. Another reason was this magical thing called “Web 2.0.” Web 2.0, where anybody can put anything on the Internet and everybody is equal. Everybody gets to publish, everybody gets to read, and everybody gets to respond.
College admissions offices employ standard USPS snail mail to advertise for their schools. Nice, neat, Photoshopped pamphlets arrive on your doorstep and as you flip through them, page by page, you get to see aspects of the school that the admissions office wants you to see. MIT, like any other college, did and does this. MIT, however, decided that it didn’t want to strictly control what you learned about the school. Why should your knowledge of the school be limited to what admissions wanted to tell you? Why should you only know a little? The solution was a series of blogs. Blogs written by students. Blogs written by students who actually attend the school. Blogs that let students that attend the school write about whatever they want, whatever they think helps potential applicants learn a little bit more about life at MIT.
MIT’s blogs have started to revolutionize the way colleges advertise. MIT is no longer a photoshopped ad, it’s constant fire alarms, successful tests, long nights, relationships, and real experiences. Some of the experiences are informative, some are advice, some are stories, and others are just completely random, giving you a look into the mind of an MIT student. Not every entry is the same, not every entry is useful, but every entry has a flavor of MIT to it and, when looked at as a part of the big picture, helps paint a picture of MIT that one group of pamphlet-creating admissions officers can’t convey.
MIT does its best to pick bloggers from a wide range of dorms, activities, writing styles, etc. The goal is to try to show a bit of everything. To be fair, 12 students cannot convey everything that happens here, but we can talk about what we do and how we live.
Here’s the way I write. I write about the stuff admissions will never tell you. I do this because this is why I feel the blogs exist. I don’t sugar coat things, I don’t always try my hardest to please everybody, I tell you what I think, what I’ve experienced, and what I think is interesting. I’m a blogger, I blog about content that I like. That’s why you’ll find entries about snowball fights, eating hot dogs, the internet coming to visit MIT, danger signs you see posted on doors, LEGOs, and tons of other stuff that isn’t stereotypical admissions pamphlet material.
I’m free to post whatever I want. When I push “Publish” it goes onto the Internet. There’s a lot of trust between admissions and the bloggers, but it’s for the better. It makes things honest. It makes things real. What I say is what I think, not what admissions necessarily thinks. This doesn’t give me permission to post about ANYTHING, however, there are some guidelines.
1) Make sure it’s relevant to applicants
2) Make sure it’s not out of context and that prefrosh understand the background
In the past I’ve posted some entries that didn’t follow those two guidelines. That was my mistake and those entries were removed. Apart from those 2 entries, every entry I’ve written has been real.
Now, since I’m allowed to write whatever I want, there’s no reason that blog readers shouldn’t be able to write whatever they want. It’s an open forum, a place for prefrosh to ask questions, chat with bloggers, chat with each other, and learn more about MIT. They are not designed to personally attack bloggers, prefrosh, or other readers. While not designed for it, those things happen.
People will have opinions, people will express them, and because of MIT’s openness these comments will be published. Here’s what’s important. Not everybody at MIT is represented by a few individuals, bloggers and commenters included. You should NEVER make a rash decision about MIT because of a few things you’ve read. You should do A LOT of research before deciding to attend any school. Read dozens, maybe hundreds of blog entries on this site, from different bloggers. Read all of the headers at the top of the page. Read Newsweek, college websites, read everything you can. Take everything into account.
I wish that everybody understood that what’s said on these blogs is taken very seriously. Any negativity can sway decisions about MIT. Current students who comment on blogs designed for prospective students are directly affecting the lives of potential applicants. If you are going to comment on blogs that are not designed for you, and you care about this school, please try to keep the comments relevant and useful for the prefrosh. Criticize, by all means, but please do it tactfully and helpfully.
Please, tell people that you disagree with what I say. Explain why things may be different from what I say. Help people understand other sides of MIT. If you despise me, please, talk about me behind my back, make fun of me, do whatever you want, but please do not let it affect MIT’s reputation and the potential classes of the future. It’s irresponsible, tasteless, and not necessary.
MIT is a wonderful school. It is difficult. You will learn. You will suffer. You will succeed. You will look back fondly at every memory you have here. You will experience things you never thought you could experience. EVERY CURRENT STUDENT that comments on these blogs is a current student. That means that they attend MIT and love it just as much as I do. They do their best to convey their impression about MIT to you because they want you to know all sides of the school. If this school were a school you shouldn’t apply to, you wouldn’t have current students on the blogs caring about how the school is represented. No matter how angry the comments are, no matter how bitter, current students still attend this school because they still like it.
MIT is all about openness. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Please don’t act rashly just because of what a few individuals say. Please read comments by many many commenters, please read entries by many many bloggers, and please make an informed decision about this school.
That is all.