In the most recent issue of The Point News, Zach Eser wrote an opinion entitled “Video Applications on YouTube Only Benefit Internet ‘Trolls’.” Mr. Eser’s piece invoked some controversy over attacks on specific groups on campus. I strongly urge everyone to read The Point News Editorial about appropriateness in public dialogue. However, I want to address the value video applications add to the admissions process.
I have always been the kind of student who spent more time on extra-circulars instead of homework. As I write this, I am ignoring two papers due next week to work on The Point News. For students like me, the traditional admissions process does not always provide a flattering picture of who we are as students and people.
My high school transcript and SAT scores won’t tell a prospective school that I spent a gap year working for the Jane Goodall Institute where I manged a national ‘Youth Leadership Initiative’ and developed two national youth campaigns. My 500 word essay told admissions about how profoundly a trip to Tanzania affected my outlook and future goals but I simply could not include why and how I got there.
The current admissions process provides small snippets of a student’s life and abilities. Adding video applications will not solve that problem, but video applications add a level of creativity unseen in the current process.
Video applications bring a personal connection to the reviewer and application. How does Ben Toll get to know current applicants through just the writing and stats on the common application? How does Wes Jordan understand who an applicant is?
Interviews help and are an important part of that process, but what about those applicants who do not make it to the interview stage? How many gems have admissions offices missed because their GPA or SAT scores were low?
The point is that allowing people to submit videos or any other form of media along with their application gives applicants a chance to stand out, even if they are not the top of their class.
Take Mathus888 (his YouTube screenname) who submitted a video that showed off all of his skills and talents in a humorous, self-deprecating manner. I remember how difficult it was to ‘sell yourself’ to prospective colleges. Joking about oneself simply does not work in an essay but plays beautifully and creatively in a video.
Breaking away from the standard stats-driven application will help this school and others create a more diverse, creative and vibrant community. I have never been much of a “keep St. Mary’s weird” person but no one can deny that we have a unique and occasionally odd set of students on campus.
That melding pot of different view points makes St. Mary’s what it is. I wouldn’t change that for the world.