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Posted at 6:30 AM ET, 02/25/2010

College application videos: Good or bad idea?

By Valerie Strauss

Underscoring the fine line between art and reality, the movie “Legally Blonde” seems to have foretold the newest innovation in college admissions: YouTube videos.

In the movie, the rich sorority girl Elle played by Reese Witherspoon submits a video, supposedly directed by Francis Ford Coppola, to Harvard Law School and winds up being accepted.

During the current admissions season a few schools gave students the opportunity to submit optional videos about themselves. George Mason University actually piloted such a program a year ago and fully incorporated it into the process this year.
You can see some of the results here.

Tufts University did the same thing, receiving about 1,000 videos among its 15,400 applications. Here, you can take a look at some of them.

This sounds like a hip way of asking kids to explain themselves beyond traditional essays, but I’m wondering whether it is such a good idea.

Why should any part of a college application be made public, especially over the Internet, where it can reside until the end of time?

Are kids going to knock themselves out trying to out-produce each other?

Are parents going to pay professional videographers to create the best video in the hope that it will help their child get into college.

Applying to college seems time-consuming and stress-inducing enough without this little twist.

Tell me why I’m wrong.


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By Valerie Strauss  | February 25, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  college admissions  
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Next: Writer David Carr's unconventional education



You are NEVER wrong!

Posted by: bethesda3 | February 25, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

As an educational consultant, I totally agree with you. The college application process is time consuming enough and adding a video just contributes to more stress for students. I am sure that Tufts finds it a very innovative idea, but I think students will spend hours trying to come up with something that will make their applications stand out. Thus, more time will be spent on the videos than the application itself. This kind of thing only adds to the madness and competition of college admissions.

Susie Watts
Denver, Colorado

Posted by: collegedirection | February 26, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

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