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There’s an article in The New York Times this morning (”M.I.T. Taking Student Blogs to the Nth Degree“) that discusses how colleges are using student blogs to publicize life at the college and entice prospects. It notes:
Dozens of colleges — including Amherst, Bates, Carleton, Colby, Vassar, Wellesley and Yale — are embracing student blogs on their Web sites, seeing them as a powerful marketing tool for high school students, who these days are less interested in official messages and statistics than in first-hand narratives and direct interaction with current students.
It's an interesting read because it's a nice encapsulation of the fine line organizations must walk between (1) going for the PR angle and (2) reflecting reality. An admissions officer at MIT says,
“You want people who can communicate and who are going to be involved in different parts of campus life,” he said. “You want them to be positive, but it’s not mandatory.”
And not all posts are positive. Ms. Kim once wrote about how the resident advising system was making it impossible for her to move out of her housing — expressing enough irritation that the housing office requested that the admissions office take her post down. Officials refused, instead having the housing office post a rebuttal of her accusations; eventually, the system was changed.
In the past, the way to deal with the problem would have been to sweep it under the rug; today, the solution--with some help from blogging--is to actually fix the problem.