Editor’s Note: This article is Part 1 in a two-part series on higher education blogs. Part 2, which reviews 24 higher education admissions and marketing blogs, is available now.
It takes a village to maintain a higher ed student blog. Or at least I think that’s how the saying goes.
In any industry, blogging consistently is no easy feat. That’s especially so in higher education, where resources are already stretched thin. In this environment, it takes creativity and commitment to execute a solid blogging strategy. Without research, planning, and a lot of hard work, efforts to create entertaining and effective content will most likely fall short.
In an effort to maximize in-house resources, many higher education institutions are turning to current students, and most notably, student ambassadors, to blog on their behalf. These 12 schools have done just that, and it’s a big reason why they are killing the student blogging game.
Each one has earned a spot on our list by creating relevant content that features a diverse set of student voices and perspectives. Trust me, once you see the useful, engaging, and all too relatable content these students are churning out on a regular basis, you’ll never hesitate to hand over the keyboard again.
Johns Hopkins University
Hopkins Insider is a student blog covering student life and academics at John Hopkins University. It offers a window into what it’s like to live and go to school in Baltimore. The blog is updated frequently and features a diverse range of voices from different class years and areas of study. I like how simple this blog is to navigate and that prospective students can easily find answers to help them decide whether John Hopkins is the right fit for them.
Recent Highlight: Why Getting Denied Early Decision isn’t the End of the World
Rutgers-New Brunswick’s blog features eleven students’ thoughts on everything from how to survive finals week to what to do if you’re feeling homesick. Publishing varies, but the blog is usually updated on a weekly basis to keep things fresh for readers. The content strikes the perfect balance between useful and relatable, which makes it a natural fit for current and prospective students alike.
Recent Highlight: 10 Things I Learned During My First Semester at Rutgers
University of Pennsylvania
The Penn Admissions Blog is written primarily by current students for prospective students, but occasionally features thoughts from the dean, Penn admissions staff, and other guest writers. Inspired by an 18th-century discussion group founded by Benjamin Franklin, the mission of the blog is to bring together a diverse collection of people and ideas. In doing so, the blog provides a more accurate and inclusive view of what it means to be a part of the University of Pennsylvania community.
Recent Highlight: Why you should apply to a large research university
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT’s student blog is authentic, fun, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Written by a group of 19 students, posts are personal and honest — at times, it almost feels as though you’re reading journal entries. I appreciate the convenient ‘Best of the Blogs’ archive, and that a post titled A Comprehensive Guide to Crying on Campus is featured in one of the top spots.
Recent Highlight: Thoughts for the New Year
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
One helpful feature of MIT’s graduate admissions blog is that users can filter posts either by category or by the department. Categories include: Being International, Beyond the Lab, Fear and Failure, Food, How To…, and Living in Boston/Cambridge, among others. Although posts have been infrequent over the past few months, they are holding a blogging workshop this year to train more students into expert bloggers. Here’s to hoping there are even more great graduate student perspectives featured in the coming year!
Recent Highlight: Girls just wanna have FUNding
Princeton’s student blog touches on academics, student life, financial aid, study abroad, and more. Featured bloggers represent a diverse set of perspectives, from physics major Avaneesh Narla, who grew up in India, to New Jersey native Kevin McElwee who recently changed his major to music. Through their posts, you’re able to catch a glimpse into not only what Princeton life is like, but also what students are passionate about beyond academics.
Recent Highlight: Saying Yes, And
Started in 2010, Yale’s Bulldogs’ Blogs offers admissions advice from current students, information on courses and extracurriculars available, and a peek behind the curtain into student life on campus. I like how bloggers frequently incorporate their own photos throughout their posts, enabling you to experience firsthand the kind of activities they’re involved in.
Recent Highlight: If I Could Change Yale
Duke’s student blog lives on Tumblr and is updated multiple times a month. Aside from a name listed at the bottom of each post, it’s difficult to tell who wrote each post and learn more about that particular student. However, the blog is super engaging, featuring images and video content throughout. I also like that Duke Students features an “Ask Us Anything” form and a home for FAQs answered by students.
Recent Highlight: 5 Amazing Duke Resources You’ve Forgotten About
Oberlin College and Conservatory
Oberlin Blogs is updated regularly, features nearly 20 different student bloggers, and even has a handy search bar on the side to help you find exactly what you’re looking for in record time. The blog covers a wide variety of topics, including alumni profiles, applying to Oberlin, community events, advising and support, study abroad, and living on campus. Student posts are authentic, funny, and well written.
Recent Highlight: I Gave a Kendrick Lamar Presentation in Class the Other Day…
The University of Rochester
The University of Rochester Admissions and Financial aid blog is written almost exclusively by students, with guest blogs sprinkled in from time to time. Rochester has, I’m guessing, strategically solicited out-of-state and International student bloggers. In a quick scroll of the 10 most recent blog posts, I found student bloggers from Washington, Indiana, Trinidad, and India. The result is a really diverse set of voices that makes it easy for prospective students to see themselves on campus, no matter where they’re from or live.
Recent Highlight: Major Problems (And Minor Issues)
Glendon (A York University Campus)
Glendon’s eAmbassador Blogs are written by student ambassadors and each hosted separately on WordPress. I especially like the headshots featured for each student and the witty bios that accompany each of them. Because each student has their own blog, it’s easy to get to know their personalities and experience what Glendon is like from their unique perspective. However, these individual blogs could be viewed as a negative over the long-run. Since students’ blogs are not archived on the site, their blogs go with them when they graduate.
Recent Highlight: Debunking 6 University Myths That Terrified Me
Drexel’s Paperclip platform is a collection of short, bite-sized student stories told through text and video. There are a few aspects of this platform to like. One, the platform allows any student to submit a piece of content (content must be approved before being published), which opens up content creation to all Drexel students, not just those an admissions team has identified as an official campus ambassador. It also exists as an iOS and Android app, which, when downloaded, open up push notification capabilities for Drexel’s marketing team.
Disclaimer: Drexel University is a client of eCity Interactive
Recent Highlight: Active Duty at Drexel
Did we miss anything on our list? If you or a colleague’s college or university is creating awesome student content, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re always looking for new schools to recognize on our blog, shoutout on social media, or feature in an episode of the Hashtag Higher Ed podcast.