Student Bloggers Replace the Traditional College Catalog

Michael Chandler is a college student who’s had it with parking tickets at Ball State University. “I swear that’s where most of BSU’s money comes from,” Chandler groused recently on his blog. “They hand’em out left and right, without a care in the world.”

Far from getting irritated, Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., welcomes the blog. The school promotes the interactive online diary and several other unfiltered student blogs directly on its home page as a recruiting tool.

Colleges seeking a competitive edge are increasingly enlisting and sometimes paying student bloggers to chronicle their lives online. The results run the gamut from insightful to boring, but the goal is the same: to find a new way to win the attention of the MySpace generation.

With students posting all of the details about campus life and amenities, colleges must strive to supply these bloggers with encouraging words.  Are the classroom chairs comfortable?  Are there plenty of quite places to study around campus?  How’s the computer labWorthington Direct can help keep colleges in good blog standings by providing them with excellent products at a great price.  Just visit their website today, www.worthingtondirect.com.

“We found it a much freer, less constricting, far more believable way of letting prospective students glimpse what was going on on campus,” said Seth Allen, dean of admissions at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. Universities balance giving the bloggers the freedom to speak their mind while maintaining some control over content.

Some, such as Dickinson, read postings before allowing them on the Web site to guard against offensive language. Others, like Ball State, say that defeats the purpose. Prospective students can easily compare students’ thoughts with comments on online networking sites like MySpace or Facebook.com, said Nancy Prater, Ball State’s Web coordinator. “If that doesn’t match what they’re saying on our blogs, there’s a disconnect,” Prater said.

Colleges from Colgate University in upstate New York, a small liberal arts campus, to the University of Texas, one of the country’s largest universities, now include links to student bloggers on their home pages. continue reading

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