Tufts University accepts YouTube videos as part of college admissions essay

We’ve seen the considerable talents of Georgetown students immortalized in video before: from Ben Shaw and Matt Appenfeller’s powers of satire and pulling off fake mustaches to Arman Ismail’s Joker impression to Jon Deutsch’s Georgetown Forever. But this year at Tufts University, video-literate potential students get to submit their masterpieces as part of their admissions packet.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin told the New York Times that he had the idea to let students supplement their admissions essays with videos when he was watching a particularly good YouTube video.

“I thought, ‘If this kid applied to Tufts, I’d admit him in a minute, without anything else,’ ” he said.

Tufts put the word out that applicants could include a one-minute video that “says something about you” (in addition to their answers to some rather outre admissions questions, like, “Are we alone?” and “Create something out of a piece of paper”), and now, over 1,000 out of the 15,000 applicants to Tufts have included videos.

NYT highlighted some of the best. There’s Betty Quinn’s awesome stop-motion video, shown above, Amelia Downs’s Math Dance, Michale Klinker’s demonstration of the remote-controlled, flying version of “Jumbo the Elephant,” Tufts’s mascot, and Shelby Listokin’s rap through a wired-shut mouth.

Quinn’s and Klinker’s videos especially are great examples of how video allows applicants to show off talents that they couldn’t, necessarily, in an essay.

Vox thinks this is a delightful idea—and a way better use of YouTube to enhance a university than the horribly hard-to-watch “Why I Chose Yale.”

10 Comments on “Tufts University accepts YouTube videos as part of college admissions essay

  1. How do I not see parents recruiting professional help in making these videos in the near future, if not already? Another bump for the rich kids.

  2. (Also, Deutsch directed Vote in a Box too — the Force is strong with this one).

  3. I thought Color Me Betty was a new Nickelodeon show.

  4. I’m not wild about this trend. 1)I don’t like the “arms race” potential here. People are already willing to jump through some crazy hoops if they think it will give them the slightest advantage in the admissions process, and I fear that people will now feel like they “have” to submit a video to stay competitive. I don’t care if it’s optional; if it’s anything like “optional” essays, people will start thinking (real or not) that they have to do it. 2)As Matt mentioned, I think this is unfairly going to benefit those people with access to the equipment and software necessary for this kind of thing. I don’t honestly foresee Matt’s prediction of high-powered consultants leaping into the business, but it’s something to consider.

    Now, if Tufts wants to watch stuff students submit unsolicited, more power to them. But I think outright asking for the stuff, unless you’re a communications or arts major, is going to create some dangerous effects.

    Also, I’d be curious to see the admissions rates for those who did and did not submit videos.

  5. i use Youtube to watch Taylor Swift videos. I always watch movie clips on Youtube. What an awesome site. ~-

  6. That is amazing! And I agree with Doug…students are trying everything to help get them admitted to college. This video thing seems like a great way to display some other talents that would not be seen on a college application.

  7. I agree with some of the above posters that there is a real danger that this will be abused by the wealthy. That being said, I think that this will become more common and it’s a great way for students to differentiate themselves and make their personal case for admission. Web 2.0 has changed the social landscape and the college admissions process is likely to follow. I just hope that there is a good standardization of the process and some control exercised on this new media to prevent extreme abuses.

  8. Pingback: Tufts University accepts YouTube videos as part of college admissions essay | Fun Sports

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