Maybe it’s that reality is more interesting than fiction? At least reality seems to be a lot more interesting to high school students shopping for colleges and universities. MIT figured that out five years ago. The New York Times reports that MIT hires some of its upperclassman students to blog about life at the Institute for marketing purposes. One such blogger, senior Cristen Chinea has her days when she feels out of place at MIT (e.g., after sleeping through part of a Star Wars marathon, the Times says), but she basically just loves the place. Dozens of other schools, too – including Amherst, Bates, Carleton, Colby, Vassar, Wellesley, and Yale – are similarly linking to highlighted student blogs from their home pages, the Times adds, but none “match the first-hand narratives and direct interaction with current students” that MIT’s bloggers have achieved (they get “$10 an hour for up to four hours a week” for their efforts). The bloggers “have different majors, ethnicities, residence halls and, particularly, writing styles. Some post weekly or more; others disappear for months. “But they’re celebrities to their high-schooler readers, much sought-out during Campus Preview Weekend. Maybe another trend?: celebrity, as well as marketing, that’s real.
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