Lifting the Curtain

    HIGHER EDUCATION — Understandably, admission pamphlets have long painted their universities to be faultless havens of higher learning with impossibly diverse student populations. But a more honest day is dawning: Dozens of admissions offices across the country are beginning to feature student-written blogs on their Web sites which present real, firsthand perspectives on the college experience. If only for the sake of not wasting the time of new freshmen and transfers applying to UCSD, ours would be wise to do the same.

    The concept behind the blog is simple: offer prospective students a glimpse of the next few years of their life before unloading their duffel bags onto those sin-drenched mattresses and tearfully hugging mom goodbye. The blog should, ideally, transcend cheery admissions-office propaganda to reveal what on-campus living is actually like.

    On the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Web site, student blogger and MIT senior Cristen Chinea does just that:

    “There’ve been several times when I felt like I didn’t really fit in at MIT,” she wrote. “I nearly fell asleep during a ‘Star Wars’ marathon. It wasn’t a result of sleep deprivation. I was bored out of my mind.”

    Chinea’s confession might not be the most encouraging information a starry-eyed MIT hopeful could stumble upon, but it serves a much higher purpose than university propaganda.

    Such candor is absent on UCSD’s admissions Web site. Here, prospective Tritons may find only a single student-drafted (though far from uncensored) summary of each college.

    Under ucsd.edu’s “Student Voices” tab, Hochung from Revelle College (who appears to be surname-less for personability’s sake ), for instance, writes that “the resident advisors at Revelle are our first and last stop for everything,” and that he “[studies] hard during the week [with] no time for slacking off.”

    The most humanizing part of Hochung’s post comes in the revelation that he has a boogie board, and that he is definitely trying to use it more often.

    While the obvious effort here is to depict UCSD as a prestigious place of learning (hey, must be true if Hochung says so) that one would be honored to call home, that clearly isn’t everyone’s story.

    Besides, at selective schools like MIT or UCSD, posting the truth might save universities a whole lot of time sorting applications.

    Reluctant admissions offices may be concerned that such honesty will scare applicants away — but with over 47,000 applicants last year (more than any other UC campus), the UCSD Office of Admissions need not worry that the pool of eager freshmen is going to dry up just because of a few students’ rants. If anything, being more forthright would attract those students who will fit in well here and eliminate the costs of an unnecessarily inflated applicant pool.

    Unless you’re one of the fortunate few who have an older friend at UCSD to steer you away from Plaza Cafe’s soggy pasta and Eleanor Roosevelt College’s deathly Making of the Modern World GE, UCSD — and each of its colleges — remains no more than an enigma before those first eye-opening weeks.

    An admissions blog in which students could describe their lives at UCSD candidly would publicize a wealth of crucial knowledge to those who need it most, and instill a sense of trust in new students that they’re not just being fed a load of propaganda.

    A better-informed applicant pool would, if anything, give way to a more motivated, in-the-loop student body — one that actually wants to be here, since they’ll have learned some of our strengths and flaws well before move-in day.

    Student blogs may not seem ideal as press releases to the suits more accustomed to giving speeches on Sixth College’s “effective global citizens” to wide-eyed high schoolers. But publicizing both the positives and negatives of a UCSD education would not only make us more compelling; it might even save the university some precious time and resources.

    Readers can contact Trevor Cox at [email protected].

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $2505
    $2500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $2505
    $2500
    Contributed
    Our Goal