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MIT student blogger Anna H. '14

SO META by Anna H. '14

Being an MIT admissions blogger

I’m sitting at the kitchen table in my London flat; my sister Lisa (MIT ’17!!) is sitting to my right, underlining passages from her AP US History textbook The American Pageant, and my friend Davie (’12) is sitting opposite me, resting on his elbow and playing Words With Friends. He’s drinking water from a bottle of what was once “Cloudy Apple”* juice.

*Yeah…I have no idea what that is. Oddly, as soon as I typed this, my sister asked him whether “Cloudy Apple” is good, and Davie’s response was “it tastes like cider”, so I guess I have my answer. This supports my longtime suspicion that Lisa and I actually share a consciousness.

Anyway, I wanted to write a blog post, but was struggling with writer’s block (it’s easier to blog for MIT admissions while actually at MIT…) I write much more efficiently under deadline pressure, so Davie gave me an assignment: “you have half an hour,” he said, “to write about being an MIT admissions blogger.”

There are a bunch of different things I could (should) touch on.

  1. Why and how I became an admissions blogger – and application requirements
  2. How I blog – the writing and posting process
  3. Whether you should become an admissions blogger

I only have 23 minutes left, so time to get cracking.

1. Why and how I became an admissions blogger

In eighth grade, I was IMing my bff Sameer when he mentioned MIT.

Eighth grade Anna: Is that the Maryland Institute of Technology?
Sameer had moved to London from Maryland, so this seemed perfectly plausible.
Eighth grade Sameer (paraphrased): … MASSACHUSETTS Institute of Technology. It’s…pretty famous.
Eighth grade Anna: Oh…okay.

Sameer promptly sent me the link to the MIT admissions site, and I began reading the blogs. Mollie made a particularly strong impression on me. I was an avid, regular reader long before I had any interest whatsoever in actually attending MIT; I read the blogs because I liked to read the blogs. A few years later, I spent a summer in New Mexico at a six-week astrophysics program for High School students. Lulu was one of my TAs – I almost swooned when I made the connection that she was an admissions blogger.

I think I wanted to become an MIT admissions blogger before I wanted to become an MIT undergraduate student. But when it came time to apply to college, MIT was naturally on the list, and when it came time to choose where to enroll, MIT snuck up to first place; it had the advantage of feeling like a friend I’d grown up with. If the blogs didn’t exist, I would probably not be here.

I graduated from High School in 2010. All summer, I obsessively checked the admissions page, waiting for the blogger application to appear. I knew that one of the requirements would be some sort of writing portfolio – and that it helps to already have a blog, to prove that you are able to churn out pieces of writing well and consistently – so I started a blog sometime in June. In other words: you do not need to have had a blog for a zillion years in order to become an admissions blogger. You just need to prove somehow that you *can* do it.

When the application came out, I was in the middle of an internship in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’m pretty sure I was on crutches at the time, after a dramatic Ultimate Frisbee accident. I think (though don’t really remember) that I told Chris Peterson that I wanted to major in Brain and Cognitive Science, wanted to become involved in Medlinks, and wanted to live in French House. I don’t remember what YouTube video I sent him, don’t remember what “little known fact” I sent in, and don’t remember my “little known fact about anything you care to share.” I don’t remember what I said to the “Team Edward or Team Jacob” question, since I refuse to go anywhere near that series, don’t remember what I said I’d do in a zombie apocalypse, and don’t remember how I said I would decorate my scraper bike. I DO remember that I sent in a copy of the graduation speech I gave as valedictorian.

In other words, I remember almost nothing about that application.

But I got the job! And I think I was almost, if not as, excited about that as I was to initially get into MIT. I had wanted that job for a long time.

2. How I blog – the writing and posting process

Looking back at old posts reminds me how much my posting process has changed over the (almost three! AHHH!!!!) years. I used to spend ten gajillion hours writing every post, paranoid that it would be “bad” or not well-written or not interesting. I think that, accordingly, my first posts sounded a bit artificial.

I then got very busy. This is the hardest part of being a blogger, as you’ve probably noticed if you follow the site: posting regularly when there are a million other activities and responsibilities in your MIT student life. Since I was posting less regularly, I felt pressured to post BETTER, and therefore posted even LESS regularly, because I’d take a lot of time on each post. I’m not sure when the downward spiral ended, but at some point I stopped obsessing so much over every word.

Now, I post about once a week; each takes about an hour, and sometimes longer. I don’t do any proofreading or editing until after it’s posted; if you read an entry five days later, it’ll be a bit different from when I initially published it.

Sometimes, friends and family give me ideas for posting – but more often than not, ideas hit me in the middle of doing something else, and I drop everything and blog. Alternatively, I’ll be hit with a strong desire to blog, and figure out what to write about as I go along. If I really can’t think of anything, I cheat and do something like thisthis, or this.

I should mention that the blogs are completely uncensored. I write about whatever I like, without having it “screened” by an admissions officer. The only rule is that I don’t make stuff up about this place.

3. Whether you should become an admissions blogger

I have two minutes left in my assignment. So – this will have to be quick.


Do you follow the admissions blogs / have a sense for the culture?
Does writing come easily for you? If you take five hours to write 500 words, this will be a painful job for you. It’s important to post regularly.
Do you enjoy telling stories?
Do you enjoy interacting with prospective students? Do you have the patience for receiving e-mails like “HOW DO I GET INTO MIT???”
Are you cool with having a weird cartoon avatar of your face on the admissions site? and with random people meeting you and saying “wait…are you Firstname LastInitial GraduationYear THE ADMISSIONS BLOGGER???”
Okay, I’m out of time; my half hour is up. So, this is getting posted right now, whether I like it or not. Let me know if you have any questions about the job – and consider that it’s possible to write a post in half an hour, so the job couldn’t possibly take *that* much time out of your week :)