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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

So You Wanna Be A Blogger? by Ben Jones

The post that (hopefully) answers all of your questions about the selection process for admissions blogging in the coming cycle.

In years past, we’ve asked folks to let us know in August if they wish to be considered for an admissions blogging position, and we’ve made final decisions right after REX, when permanent housing assignments are solidified. (While previous blogging experience is paramount in our selection process, we must also be careful to provide a broad spectrum of the MIT experience – so where you live, along with various other related criteria such as your intended major and extra-curricular interests, will all be considered.)

While the traditional schedule will remain true for this year’s Regular Action (RA) admissions blogger selection process, Matt and I have decided to add an Early Action (EA) round for a couple of reasons – first, there seems to be more interest in the program this year than ever before, and second, it will allow us to cover pre-orientation/orientation from the MIT ’10 perspective.

The EA round will only be open to incoming freshmen. (We have plenty of crusty old upperclassmen bloggers to cover orientation. :-) The RA round will be open to all MIT undergraduates, however (in the interest of full disclosure) you should know that we will be looking to hire almost exclusively freshmen to maintain a balance between new students and upperclassmen.

To be considered in the EA round, you should email me (benjones at you-know-the-rest) by July 31st, 2006 and:

  • Provide a link to your “portfolio” – in other words, your current blog.
  • If you post regularly on any admissions forums such as College Confidential, please provide URL’s and username/screenname/etc.
  • Tell me what you submitted for your housing choices (in order of preference), what you’re considering for a major (list all possibilities), and what activities you hope to become involved with at MIT.
  • Write a short essay (100 words or so) responding to this prompt: “At 4:42 PM EST, an aardvark sprang from its burrow and headed southwest. Assuming a trajectory of 42.6 degrees for said aardvark, where is the banana and why is that man chartreuse?”

Answers to what I am guessing will be common questions:

  • We will likely select two bloggers in the EA round, and defer everyone else to the RA round, but this number is not 100% set in stone. I am not yet sure how many bloggers will be selected in total by the end of the RA round.
  • You may not submit supplemental recommendations. In fact you may not submit any recommendations at all.
  • Do not feel that you need to “clean up” your existing blog for us. We know that just because you use the F-word there doesn’t mean you intend to use it on the admissions site. (If we can trust Laura to make the transition, we can trust you. ;-)
  • If you wish to apply in the RA round, the same rules apply – but the deadline is August 31st instead of July 31st.

To all of you who have already emailed me to express interest – whether applying EA or RA, please send me a supplemental email answering any of the above questions that were not addressed in your original email.

Any questions? Just post ’em in the comments and I’ll update this entry accordingly.

61 responses to “So You Wanna Be A Blogger?”

  1. Anthony says:

    Next it’ll be SAT/ACT scores! grin

  2. Shikhar says:

    hi sorry for the untimed question but I had questions regarding transferring to MIT. I dont want any chances or anything but i just wanted to get a feel of what kind of an individual MIT really expects to admit…you know just so i am on track in college or maybe to get to know whether i really want to transfer to MIT or not. I am an international btw but will be studying in a US univ. Worcester Polytechnic Institute,Worcester to be exact..

  3. Timur Sahin says:

    I thought we were done applying. :(.

  4. cristen says:

    oh my god there’s an actual admissions process!! =D

    i almost thought the process of choosing bloggers was very… under the table. but it’s so open! yay!

  5. Colin says:


  6. Christina says:

    Remember a few posts back when I answered the question about how the no-eyed species survived and you said, “CHRISTINA WINS THE PRIZE!” but the prize was never actually specified?

    Well. *Ahem*

    As my prize, I would like to have an admissions blogger spot without having to fill out that application or compete against my friends.

    K. When do I start?

  7. thekeri says:

    Christina! Apply like the rest of us, and take something else as a prize. I don’t know, will a cookie do? (A big, frosted one? Like those cookie cakes at Mrs. Fields’ or something…)


    This concludes my run-on sentence of the day.

  8. Christina says:

    b*tch pls, a cookie could never do.


    And stop it! You’re totally an amazing blogger!

  9. Laura says:

    Ouch Ben, way to out me. =P

  10. charlotte says:

    can you make them post their answer to the essay prompt on their first official blog?

  11. faye says:

    Quick question totally unrelated to blogging (although blogging is without doubt fascinating and wonderful and all that other good stuff) —

    Mr. Jones, I’m an MIT hopeful, and I’m unfortunately not much at writing essays. How much might this hurt me?

  12. Christina says:

    I just hope I don’t have to break out the karate, that’s all I’m saying.

    (JK, terrifed also!)

  13. Colin says:

    Oh JKim. I love you and your blog. And Maddox and his book, which I bought yesterday.

    (Not terrified. Pessimistic/cynical. :D)

  14. Christina says:

    Love you too, Colly! :-(

  15. JKim says:

    Pick me. My blog’s the best page in the universe. Besides Maddox, that is.

    Who am I kidding? I’m terrified. Almost as terrified as when I actually applied to MIT. Yeeesh!

  16. Omar '10 says:

    Yeah, I already sent my application wink

    Let’s see how it goes.


  17. thekeri says:

    I love Colin, Xtina, and JKim. EVEN IF THEY DON’T LOVE ME BACK.

    Ohhh snap. Yeah, I said it.

  18. Christina says:

    Keri, my love for you is so …large-scale… that even stating it would be redundant!

  19. thekeri says:

    Oh. Okay, then. Sorry for the public outing, then?

  20. Christina says:

    Sometimes I feel bad that these comment threads basically turn into CCKJ live chats. :-X

  21. JKim says:

    I don’t.

    Heart you all!

    And you’re all brilliant writers, and we’ll all become bloggers, and the world will be infested with puppies and rainbows.

  22. thekeri says:

    Whoa. The optimism from Jess is just exuding in nonstop waves. Way to ruin my perfectly-honed cynicism there.

    Of course, she’s gone and can’t defend herself now. So I win.

    And I used to feel bad about it too, Christina. But then I tried to shift it over to one of our blogs in order to spare Ben from our comment spam, and he said not to. Something about how his blog never gets attention anymore. Spam away, kids. Spam away.

  23. cristen says:

    oh, i’ll never become a blogger with the domination already present here :[

  24. thekeri says:

    In that case, hi, Cristen!

    Don’t mind the rest of us; we just don’t know how to mind our own business. Or something like that.

  25. Christina says:

    “Don’t mind the rest of us; we just don’t know how to mind our own business.”


  26. Mikey says:

    Ok, new requirement for becoming a blogger: you need to be able to plot and pull off tons of practical jokes on Ben. As the office clown, we need tons of arsenal to get back at him…(Ben don’t read this post! shhhh)

  27. Omar '10 says:

    Hey Ben!

    I saw you yesterday! but yeah… again, I was in a rush to the next class (weight lifting) and couldn’t stop to say hi, but I’ll try next time…

    …. lol, I was also too shy to say hi… haha, that’s the truth.

  28. Christina says:

    Mikey brings up a point that I hadn’t really thought about before. What exactly are the job requirements of a blogger, aside from, well, spending 4 hours a week (I think? right?) blogging? Is there anything else? Are we ever in the office? Do we get to help with admissions?

  29. Omar '10 says:

    “Are we ever in the office? Do we get to help with admissions?”

    That sounds like fun smile

  30. Christina says:

    Omar – hehe. I know. :-D

  31. thekeri says:

    If a job requirement is showing up on occasion and annoying the crap out of the admissions officers, then I’ve got it down already. (Now pick me! Pick me!)

    …wait, we’ll all do this anyway, won’t we?

    Cristen – way to tell me this now. Are you on LJ or xanga? (Both? Neither?…)

  32. Oh man, you folks should NOT be shy to say hello to Ben, he is the NICEST GUY and will be CRAZY-HAPPY to have you say hello to him next time you pass him! (Oh wait Ben, did I just ruin your rep?) Seriously, do not pass up a chance to accost Ben with a cheerful hello and introduction: I *PROMISE* you he will be glad you did it, and so will you. smile

  33. Omar '10 says:

    Haha, I’m still deciding when to go… I saw him today while walking by the office, but didn’t stop to say hi… I’ll stop… soon………

  34. Christina says:

    Omar, here’s a solution: go get Nance (he’s a lot less intimidating than Ben wink ) and have HIM casually introduce you to Ben.

  35. I beg to differ: there is no one less intimidating than Ben. Go get ’em, Omar! grin

  36. cristen says:

    keri – Hi Keri!! I am a humble fan of your blogs.

    omar – hehe if i saw ben, i’m sure i’d be too shy to say hi as well. =]

    hey! as bloggers we’d ALREADY be helping with admissions. =P wonder if there’re like.. group meetings or something.

  37. thekeri says:

    What, no one wants to just impolitely burst through the door of 3-107 and yell, “HI!”?

  38. Christina says:

    You gotta do it now, Omar. We’re all cheering you on! Or else you can wait until August 21st and come tackle Ben with me and a few other people. grin

  39. thekeri says:

    Tackling with you, Christina. If I don’t get to him the day before that is. Everyone knows all the cool people come on the 20th. ^_^

  40. Ben says:

    Um, except the 20th is a Sunday. And as much as I love you Keri, I work enough weekends during reading season, so…

  41. Nur says:

    I need to see Ben……because……^_^

  42. thekeri says:

    Curse it! I forgot about that…

    Fine, Ben. Just know that YOU’RE HELPING CHRISTINA WIN. Or something.

    And Colz is right. We so win at life. ^_^

  43. Colin says:

    Keri and I have already met Ben and thus win at life.

  44. Christina says:

    I think the ellipsis after Ben’s comment implied he just wants you to come to his house to see him, Keri. His address is 1 Ben Jones Lane and his kids are darling.

    I am FOREVER jealous that you’ve all met Ben AND seen MIT and I have yet to do either. Although, Ben did *call* me at my very own house one sunny afternoon. ALTHOUGH WAIT. He made me cry a lot. :-(

  45. So Omar, did you go? Did you go?

    — your anxious public….

  46. Omar '10 says:

    I’ll go there today after I get out of my last recitation wink

  47. thekeri says:

    Yes, Omar. Did you go and see Ben?

  48. Omar '10 says:

    I did go… yesterday afternoon and there was a meeting going on :(

    I tried again today, and Ben is not in there… and well, I’ll have to try again next week…

    :( – it’s simply not fair!

    But yeah, I’ll keep trying, I might eventually be able to meet him

  49. cristen says:

    o.O that just makes it seem like ben’s really hard to find… or partly invisible.

    Keri- Both ^_^

    How many people actually applied yet? How many people are anticipated to apply?! Is the acceptance rate actually lower than MIT’s undergrad acceptance rate?! @[email protected]

  50. Omar '10 says:

    Cristen, is not that hard to find Ben, I saw him twice walking through the infinite corridor, it just that… when I decide to go and say HI, he’s not there!!! But well, I’ll find him… eventually. :p

  51. Mike says:

    Hey Ben I have a question about SATs. I am taking my second time of SATs in October, and my SAT IIs in November, which would qualify me for early decision. I read that I have to officially send the scores to MIT from the test, but on my first SAT I did not do this, because I did not know I needed to. On’s website, there is an option to send scores to colleges…is this still “official” in the sense you need it? Or will it not even matter as I’m hoping my October scores will be higher anyway. Thanks

  52. Are you kidding? Ben is the scariest, meanest person I’ve ever met in my life. I’d prove it, but all I have are private emails :(

  53. Ben says:

    Oh Borski, so negative all the time. Waaaaaaah. :-(

  54. thekeri says:

    Don’t try to cover for yourself, Ben. You know Borski’s right.

  55. Omar '10 says:

    wink I just met Ben! Like, a minute ago !! It was great!

  56. GO OMAR! See?? What did we tell you? grin

  57. thekeri says:

    Yes! Omar’s done it!

    Okay, I’m stopping with the comment spam now. For real.

  58. Haha, I love how meeting Ben is now it’s own prize. That’s awesome.

  59. Laura says:

    Nah, Borski is just easily scared. =P

  60. cristen says:

    man. that essay question was KILLER. wink