By Ravali Reddy
It has been less than two weeks since the Class of 2016 descended on the Farm. In the midst of choosing classes, registering bikes and checking out the first fraternity parties, a few freshmen have found the time to do one more thing: close down the admissions advice blog they started back in June.
“Confessions from Stanford” posted its first article on June 17. The blog was archived on Tuesday and is no longer accepting new posts.
In a statement issued to The Daily, blog administrators Amelia Brooks ’16 and Ilya Mouzykantskii ;16 stated that they were choosing to shut down the site because “[it] started to lose its sense of direction.”
Brooks, the blog’s founder, originally started the blog as a personal project with the intention of finding “a way to track [her] transition from high school through [her] freshman year at Stanford and share that transition with prospective applicants to give them a ‘real’ picture of what life [at Stanford] is like.”
Within a few weeks of starting the blog, she posted in the Official Stanford Class of 2016 Facebook group looking for additional writers and quickly received over 50 responses from interested students.
“Almost immediately, the blog’s popularity boomed,” Brooks wrote in an email to The Daily.
According to the site’s Google Analytics report, “Confessions” has received over 40,000 hits from 10,192 unique visitors in 103 countries since June 28.
Despite the numbers, Brooks and Mouzykantskii said that the large number of contributors and “nonexistent editing structure” resulted in the blog receiving “a negative perception from both inside and outside the Stanford community.”
When the site was live, posts were divided into categories such as My Story, Applying and Admission, Why Stanford, Questbridge and The Common App. The site’s headline stated that the blog was meant to “contain our insights and experiences from our journey to Stanford, and our perspective of life here as freshmen,” with most of the posts focusing on providing admissions advice to future applicants.
Vienna Harvey ’16, one of the blog’s contributors, said she first heard about the blog from Brooks’ post in the Stanford Class of 2016 Facebook group.
“It just seemed like a really cool idea,” Harvey said. “It was something new because I had never really blogged before so I thought I would just give it a try.”
Harvey, whose single post for the blog was titled “Sometimes It’s Good to Be Wrong: Like when you think you won’t get in and then you do,” followed a pattern for one-time posters – a brief summary of her academic experiences thus far, including SAT scores, followed by a recap of her personal experience of applying to college, learning she was admitted and deciding she wanted to attend Stanford.
Alex Barata ’16, another contributor, stated that he thought having access to a blog such as this one would have proved useful during his own application process.
“I think it would have been helpful because each school has its own personality,” Barata said. “Reading the posts by actual students lets you see what kind of students they are looking for.”
Barata’s post was titled “We Are Gatsby!” and drew a comparison between the Farm and Fitzgerald’s famous character.
“I think Stanford is kind of like Fitzgerald’s Gatsby,” Barata wrote. “It is the new money among these academic powerhouses that existed long before California was even a state.”
During its three-month run, reactions to the blog from current students and alumni varied. At one point, a disclaimer sidebar on the site read, “We understand that we are the youngest members of the Stanford community and we apologize if we sound presumptuous. We are honored to join you and learn from you over the next few years…please bear with our unbridled naïveté and enthusiasm as we make our transition.”
Despite their decision to archive the site, Brooks and Mouzykantskii remain hopeful that a blog that provides students with an accurate look into Stanford life will become available in the future.
“While we are sad to acknowledge that Confessions from Stanford did not fulfill what we had hoped, we still believe there is tremendous unexplored potential in this type of publication,” their statement read. “We believe that at some point in the future, another publication will be able to do what Confessions from Stanford could not.”