YouTube admission videos: asset to application process

By Nicholas Guldin
April 15, 2010

College applications have been evolving over time. Originally, applications were all sent in through the mail. Each component of the application was stuffed into an envelope and sent out to the designated college.

As technology improved, colleges started to use the internet as a way to apply. The person wishing to apply could simply go online and fill out the necessary information.
Tufts University puts a twist to the application process by using YouTube as a primary recruiting tool.  -- MCT
Tufts University, right outside of Boston, is breaking free from tradition by not only reading applications but watching them as well. Starting this year Tufts is the first college to encourage students to send in one-minute YouTube videos as part of their application.

“I did enjoy doing the video immensely. I was able to showcase several different interesting parts of my life, and tie them all into a big joke at the end. It was sort of my way of taking the stress out of the application process,” C.J. Graham, one of the first students to submit a video as part of his application, said.

The videos range from flying elephants to creative raps to mathematical dances. Graham decided to move in a different direction though.

“As I was deciding what to do about the situation, I started randomly going through old photos on Facebook, and I noticed that I had a lot of photos of me cross-dressing. I came up with the idea for the video and decided I wanted to make it as funny and lighthearted as possible. Then I collected the pictures and footage I wanted and edited it all together in around two or three hours,” Graham said.

The video is not a mandatory part of the application at Tufts. All students who are applying have the option to do other things as well, like writing a short story. Lee Coffin, dean of admissions at Tufts, said that they are not looking for an Oscar-winning film. What they are searching for is another part of the puzzle that makes up that specific student.

“I think that the purpose of any application supplement is to give the counselors a better idea of who the student is, and for students who do this well it can boost their application. Video is just another increasingly popular creative outlet and Tufts has a thriving program in film studies,” Averi Becque, a current freshman at Tufts, said.

Many soon-to-be and current students at Tufts rave about the uniqueness of the application there, claiming that it is the most innovative and thought provoking application they have come across while applying to schools. Could the idea of YouTube videos start a trend amongst colleges and universities across the nation?

“I honestly don’t think videos are the future of the college application process. Tufts’s video applications worked well because they were optional. I think that the college application process is so ingrained at this point that it’ll be a long time before we see required videos on any sort of application,” Graham said.

Tufts University may be ahead of the curve when it comes to applications or they may be just downright unique. Either way they have created a way to put a face to the name when it comes to rummaging through thousands of applications.

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Nicholas Guldin

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