Oberlin Joins the Blogosphere
The common prospective experience at Oberlin is to attend a few lecture classes, go on a fact-heavy tour and spend a sleepless night on the floor of a dirty dorm room. Aiming to give students a more extensive look into daily Oberlin life, the Oberlin admissions office is hiring a team of student bloggers for their website.
This concept came from the Admissions Office’s desire to “give prospective students an idea of current students daily lives in Oberlin,” said Tom Abeyta, associate director of admissions.
Dean of Admissions Debra Chermonte added that the office is looking for “a stronger student voice.”
Prospective students will be able to leave comments on the blogs, and the bloggers will respond, creating what Chermonte calls a “stronger connection” between the prospective students and current students. The intent of these blogs is to try to connect with prospective students in a way current promotional literature and the website cannot.
Student-written blogs on admissions websites were pioneered by Ben Jones, OC ’96, now Director of Communications for the MIT admissions office. These blogs have become the focus of the MIT Admissions website and have become so popular that during this year’s new student orientation, the university held a follow-up “meet the bloggers” event.
“We saw the success of the MIT blogs and wondered, why aren’t we doing something like this?” said Abeyta.
Though most of the process has not yet begun, the staff at the Admissions Office is hoping to hire several Oberlin students from diverse backgrounds and activities. They are also looking to have faculty and at least one admissions officer blogging.
Students will focus on certain subjects “rather than just a diary,” said Abeyta. “We want a prospective student who is interested in physics to be able to go online and find a blog of an Oberlin student writing about physics.”
Bloggers will be paid ten dollars a post and will have to post twice a week. The Admissions Office hopes to hire two to three students per class and hopes they will stay on for a long time.
Student bloggers will have to follow a protocol, which will include posting a certain number of entries per week and responding to comments. The Admissions Office has not made a decision on how they are going to censor the blogs. “There will be guidelines,” said Chermonte. “No profanity, no derogatory comments.” They want to give the bloggers freedom within appropriate parameters.
Soon a prospective student halfway around the world will be virtually dancing with us at the ’Sco, sharing our DeCafé smoothie and sitting in on our neuroscience class without getting out of pajamas.