YouTube videos as common fare in the college application process?

One clip shows a girl interpreting math terms as dance moves.  Another features a guy flying a small remote-controlled elephant helicopter that he made around his backyard.  Are these just random YouTube videos?

Not quite.

These videos are actually submissions students made with their college applications.

In addition to filling out applications and writing various essays in an attempt to be accepted into the college or university of their choice, some college applicants are now turning to social media outlets to make an impression. Tufts University, for instance, recently began inviting its applicants to submit YouTube videos along with their other admissions articles.

These supplemental application videos serve as another way for people to better demonstrate to the the admissions board just who the applicant is, their interests, activities, etc. Utilizing social media options like this adds a completely new aspect by which applicants can potentially impress those who ultimately decide whether a student is enrolled or not.  In an interview with the New York Times, Tufts’ Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin said, “At heart, this is all about a conversation between a kid and an admissions officer.  You see their floppy hair and their messy bedrooms, and you get a sense of who they are. We have a lot of information about applicants, but the videos let them share their voice.”

With younger generations being more and more tech- and media-savvy, is it likely that video clips will eventually replace the essay?

Judge for yourselves. Amelia Downs Tufts U application included this “Math Dance” clip:


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Sam Schneider

I am a senior at Purdue University majoring in Professional Writing and History with a minor in Communication. I intend to graduate in May 2010.

2 thoughts on “YouTube videos as common fare in the college application process?

  • February 24, 2010 at 11:22 am

    One can only wonder…. I copy edited the post a little bit for brevity and effect. Take a look.

  • February 28, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Using web videos as a tool for any application process is bound to become more popular. Another web/video type of application is the video resume. Potential employees post their resumes on You Tube and perhaps send a link to employers. I’m certain that HR departments will start to see the video resume as a great, money and time saving tool. Here’s an example of a pretty good video resume:


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