Colleges Use Student Blogs as Free PR

Warts-and-all posts by undergrads can lure savvy prospects
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2009 12:10 PM CDT
The MIT campus.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Colleges are loosening the reins on student bloggers in hopes that a dose of candid commentary will lure prospective applicants. At MIT, for instance, bloggers paid by the admissions office go about their work with no fear of censorship. That policy has caused some friction—including a spat between the admissions and housing offices—but the rewards are digitally tangible, the New York Times reports.

“I would have never guessed that people at MIT are interested in anime,” one prospective student wrote in response to a blog. “Oh well...+1 on my ‘Why should I go to MIT’ list.” Of course there “fears that we can’t control what people are saying,” a dean says. But “we’re learning, slowly, that this is how the world works, especially for high school students.” An administrator at MIT, where competition for the blogger spots is fierce, echoes the sentiment. “You want them to be positive,” he says. “But it’s not mandatory.”