Tuesday, February 23, 2010

YouTube Now Accepts College Applications

Some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education now encourage applicants to submit a YouTube video as part of their application. Okay, this might be a good idea on the surface. High school students already enjoy making videos and uploading them to YouTube. But what the college application now be made public via the Internet? Here are two videos high school seniors submitted as part of their application to Tufts University. Given I found them on YouTube and can easily embed them as ready-to-play on Blogger.com, what do you see as the pros and cons of college application materials moving to public spaces and social networking sites? Here's Chania Cohen's "Walk in My Shoes" video she used for her application. (Click the arrow to view it; the videos is shorter than 2 minutes.)

Here's Amelia Downs' math nerd and dancing video, also part of her Tufts' application.

These videos and others that students have submitted to YouTube as part of their application packet have had over a 3,000 hits as of yesterday. Tufts claims that this year as many as 1,000 applicants submitted YouTubes. Given the number, it is understandable why an admission committee finds YouTube a convenient storage site and easy way to access and organize reams of digital materials.

Some schools even send with acceptance letters a video that pops on the screen as soon as the student opens email. For instance, Yale sends a rendition of "High School Musical."

What's your response to the use of videos, especially ones available on the world wide web, as part of the college application packet? How do you feel about the application process being in public view? When was the last time a college essay had that many readers? Will a centralized blog or wiki, available to the public, be the way students submit essays? Or is the visual nature of YouTube and its capacity to store large video files that make it more so the go-to venue for telling admissions committees, and in the meantime the rest of the world, "Who Am I."


Anonymous said...

Times " they are a changing" To have part of a college application in a public domain as utube is quite unique. It must be entertaining for a college admission officer to review applications... American Idol any one.

Anonymous said...

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Lori said...

On the plus side, I can see how having a video would aid the college weed through candidates, viewing a video provides more information about a candidate than sentences written on paper. However, is the benefit worth the time needed to view the videos? I would think that this has created a new job for someone at the college.

On the minus side, I think the colleges requiring videos are going to miss out on great candidates that are smart enough to realize they do not want their videos on a public site. Also, candidates who are shy or private but still great students will probably shy away from colleges requiring videos. I wouldn't want a college sharing my essay with other candidates, why would I like to share my video with other candidates?

Boy am I glad I do not have to interview for colleges!

Kylie said...

First I was very impressed with Chania Cohen's "Walk in My Shoes" video, how creative. She said so much in 1:24 and still left me wondering. I thought that it was a fantastic way to hook a college and have them wanting to look at your application. The other video (math dance) was not as impressive and actually would have detoured me from wanting to see more of this persons application. It just didn’t say much and showed immaturity. So, I personally believe that using youtube as an application “hook” could help or hurt you. As far as colleges using world wide web as part of the application process, I think it is a great idea. Think about how many applications major universities like Tufts receive. I bet that they are faced with thousands of students with the same range of GPA’s and SAT scores and who are active in their school and community. Every student looks the same on paper. Why not give students a way of standing out. If they are creative enough and willing to go to that length to get into a college, I say they deserve it.

Kate said...

I wholeheartedly agree with Kylie. I think that Rhaina's video was extremely well done and creative. It really gives the person viewing insight into her life. The viewer could tell that a lot of time was put into choosing the right song and developing this video. However, on the other hand Amelia's video on math dances left me questioning what exactly she wants the viewer to get out of watching the video. I don't think it really expresses a lot about her. In contrast, I could infer from Rhaina's video "Walk In My Shoes" that she has traveled to the UK, met Hilary Clinton, and possibly baked for a charity or soup kitchen. It creatively showed her well roundedness. I did not get this impression from Amelia's video.

I think that it is an excellent idea for colleges to offer creating a video as part of the application process. However, this should be optional. If colleges require this video component then students could become even more stressed out with an already very stressful process. Classrooms are differentiated so the application process should be too. A written essay is not indicative of all the gifts people have. What a great way for creative people to express themselves.

Christina said...

Lori,I think you and I agree a lot about personal information being available to the public! I do not feel comfortable with this idea either. I also agree with you being shy I know that I could not create a you tube video explaining why a college should accept me. Certain people have a gift to be in front of a camera but I am not one of them! I also wonder if some people have funny, entertaining you tube videos would get accepted when they have not earned it on by their grades and SAT scores. Kate, I think you had a great idea with saying the videos should be optional for students. My only issue is that would college admissions be more prone to accept students that also submitted videos because they could identify with the actual person instead of just writing or test scores. I would be afraid that the videos would hurt students that opted not to submit them.

Jess said...

After reading this story and seeing the videos, I stil dont know what to think about submitting videos for college admittance. It is a creative way for students to show who they are, but it the information they present becomes public. If students dont mind then it is up to them. I think the college admittance process should stick to traditional applications and interviews because the process is the same for everyone. A video like this could boost a student's opportunity to be accepted but as long is its not a requirement I dont think it is a terrible idea

Meggan said...

While I'm not opposed to the idea of creating a video like these to submit with the application, it should be supplementary. I do think it's a great way for kids with a more creative talent to express themselves. I thought the shoes video was very creative, but I would hope those students who chose to not go that route don't get penalized for it. On to the part about these videos being available to the public...going back to the shoes video, I think it's harmless to have it on the web for all to see. It doesn't reveal specific personal information. My only concern though is that these are still teenagers, and there's all those predators out on the Internet. Other than that, if parents know they're doing it, why not?

bryan said...

Sending videos as apart of the college admission process is not a new concept. Many artistic schools require students to submit videos of thier work whether it is acting, singing, or sculpting. What makes this process so different is that the college is encouraging students to put thier videos on a site for all to see. College audition videos are kept private between the student and the faculty.

I have no problem aboutr requiring some kind of video entry if the school really believes it will help gain a better insight into the types of students they are admitting to thier college/university. The real question posed here is whether that information should become public knowledge?

One of the draw backs of the internet lies within its permenance. Once something is posted on the internet it is there virtually forever. Students videos, once they are up on you tube, have little to no control over who is viewing the video and how that video can be used later. If something negative were to happen as a result of these personal videos being posted on you tube as part of the admissions process the school would take little to no responsibility even though it was a requirement.

As I said, and some of you agree, creating a video presentation can be a worthwhile experience for some students to gain admission into college. However, the use of these videos and who has access to them are the real issues that should be debated.

Lori said...

Bryan - Couldn't agree with you more. As you stated colleges have used videos before but the videos have always been private between the school and the applicant. I do not agree the videos should be available for public viewing and I think you argued the point very well.

Melissa said...

Wasn't there a movie that had this? Yes Legally Blond. Having a college application online is going Green- Less paper. But like Bryan stated once it is online it is there forever it could hurt the student in the long run. I like the idea of students being able to be creative and it showed in both of these videos. But how do we know that it was the student's idea?

Sarah B said...

I think that videos can be a good and a bad thing. Many of the posters on this blog believe that the shoes video was great but I disagree. When I see that video (yes I think it is a good video) I see someone who has money and connections. Is that fair for the equally bright and ambitcious student who happens to not have as much money? The shoe video just told about where she has been and who she has met. It said nothing about what SHE has DONE. How has she made an impact on this world? The Math dance video is not perfect either. It may show some immaturity but in my eyes it shows that she is making a concrete connection to different mathmatical concepts. With both of these videos how do you know that it is the applicants actual ideas? How does tufts know that the shoes video wasn't done by the mom. But then again how would they know that the written application wasn't done by the mother either.
I do think that it is a bright idea for the colleges because once they have the link to the YouTube video they can easily access any other videos that that account has made. Then they can REALLY get a feel for the applicant. I wonder how many students would make that connection and take down any incriminating videos?

Sara said...

I think creating a video is great way to get noticed. Having colleges be as competitive as they are, they can make the student really shine. However, I do feel that making a video should be an option. Not all students are outgoing, creative, or self-confident enough to post a video for thousands to see.

Will this be how the world filters through such meticulous process in the future? Will job interviews and selections be based on the best video?

Nancy Dulz said...

I agree with Sara about a YouTube video being a great addition to the written college application, especially for those students who are creative. The Walk In My Shoes was especially eye catching as she showed different aspects of her life. The video was well done especially with its accompanying music. If this student already had the qualifications to be accepted at Tufts this could only enhance her chances.
I have not heard of any prospective college students making a video as part of the college application process so I wondering how truly popular it is. The only videos I know of are personal ones sent to coaches if kids are interested in playing sports at the collegiate level. In the highly competitive world of college admissions will this become the norm? As Sara said not everyone is creative so this could put a great deal of pressure on someone to come up with an idea they would want to post on YouTube.
Let's just say I am glad I did not have to post a video to be hired for my teaching job, but in this competitive job market will this be the next step? Has this process turned into an entertainment venue as opposed to really looking at one's qualifications?

Sarah M. said...

I have to say that this is the first time I've heard of this--and that I'm glad I didn't have to do it! I agree with Lori and Kylie that, after having watched both videos, the "Walk in My Shoes" video was far superior to the "Math Dance" video. The Shoes video relayed a sense of accomplishment and well-rounded-ness. In addition, it was clever and thought-provoking. On the contrary, the Math video was strikingly immature. I agree with both Nancy and Sara that the video supplement should be optional. And, as Kylie mentioned, it could certainly hurt someone's chances for acceptance who otherwise looks good on paper. One concern I would have is what Lourdes noted--privacy. This appears for the world to see! Also, there has been much effort to make the admissions process less discriminatory for students. However, showing oneself on video can certainly add back the bias. Overall, I think that it might be a nice option for some students, while an inhibiting option for others.

Jess said...

I agree with most of the comments stated so far. There are positives and negatives to creating youtube videos for the college application process, but times are changing and having a sample of a students' technological ability is important.

I disagree with some of the statements about student privacy, not only because users have the ability to make videos private, but also because literacy is developed by "writing" and communicating to authentic audiences. To echo Kylie, it takes a lot of skill to "hook" an audience as Chania was able to do. A college should be able to gather a lot of insight about a student's higher order reasoning and understanding of purpose and audience through a video.

Jess said...

I agree with most of the comments stated so far. There are positives and negatives to creating youtube videos for the college application process, but times are changing and having a sample of a students' technological ability is important.

I disagree with some of the statements about student privacy, not only because users have the ability to make videos private, but also because literacy is developed by "writing" and communicating to authentic audiences. To echo Kylie, it takes a lot of skill to "hook" an audience as Chania was able to do. A college should be able to gather a lot of insight about a student's higher order reasoning and understanding of purpose and audience through a video.

Linda Turbide said...

Additional information for College Applications can be many things, electronic portfolios, art portfolios, dance videos, soccer videos, music portfolios. Many video creations can be purchased for sports. I imagine almost any DVD or U-tube video could be produced with enough money.

Using these U-tube videos for college applications can be a good or a bad idea.

I think it depends on where the student is applying, what type of impression they want to leave with admissions, what they want to study, and how well they are able to present a video. It also depends on how much money they want to spend, how well they understand the admissions process, and how original and honest they are presented in these videos.

If money were no object, a phenomenal video could showcase a person so that the illusion of creativity and skill would be projected. Would that be fair?

The "Walk in My Shoes Video" was extremely well-done and creative. I do not know who was the creative force behind the video. Chania Cohen has had connections with Hillary Clinton. We know that she is probably Jewish. That is all that we really know.

The "Nerd and Dancing Video" was silly and unnecessary, in my opinion. It was definitely amateurish and showed no talent for math or dancing. I found it embarrassing. I hope her judgment is better than it was when she posted this video.

It seems that admissions personnel will be wasting much time going through U tube videos. I think that they may only be useful for weeding out silly applications. I prefer to see DVDs showcasing a talent, or an electronic portfolio on a CD, or an art or photography portfolio.

I do not agree with public viewing of applications.

Meghan said...

I think this is a really great idea, however....what about students who do not have everyday access to this kind of technology?
I feel like a youtube video would be considered a more impressive application, than the traditional paper and ink ones! This makes is un-fair to students who have less technology available to them!
Students can be extremely smart, gifted and deserving to attend a wonderful institution, even if they don't have a camera, and internet connection and a computer!

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