Monday, December 13, 2010

Admissions blogs

At this time of year, lots of people are thinking about admissions to colleges and universities, both as undergraduates and graduate students. Many admissions offices now have blogs (Google searches provide big lists here and here, and another useful meta-list of advice and commentary is here).

Admissions office blogs reflect two things:
  • first, admissions in many places is highly selective, that is, the schools and programs get more applicants than they can admit and must select among them;
  • second, admitted students must be wooed, as they are mostly admitted to more than one school or program.
So admissions is a great example of a matching market: neither side of the market can just choose what they want, they also have to be chosen.

This is especially true at the most competitive programs: e.g. locally, here are the blogs from the HBS doctoral program, the HBS MBA program, and the Harvard law school. The undergrad admissions offices at both Harvard and MIT support student bloggers.

Someone recently pointed out to me that the HBS doctoral program blog featured a nice paragraph about me; and it's certainly true that for many applicants who are interested in an Economics Ph.D. from Harvard it makes sense to apply to  Bus-Ec as well as to Economics (or vice versa), since the two programs have separate admissions committees, and there's a good deal of randomness in the process of selecting a very small group of admits from a very large group of exceptionally accomplished applicants.

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