National / News / April 8, 2010

Tufts University goes far beyond the personal essay

Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts began accepting video essays in the fall of 2009. The university accepts the Common Application but also has a supplemental application, which “includes three required short essays and an optional essay; the ‘video essay’ was one of eight questions in this year’s optional section,” Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin wrote in an e-mail.

Coffin went on to write, “It is an additional element that a student may use if he/she believes the format will enhance the narrative they are sending us.”

The video is used to ask the students to say something about themselves.

“The video, like any of the optional essays, is designed to expand our sense of a student’s creativity, intellectual curiosity and personal narrative. Like written essays, the videos cover a wide range of topics and styles, but we have found that the best ones do inform our evaluation of a student in a purposeful way,” Coffin wrote. “Approximately 800 of our 15,437 applicants submitted one as part of their application.”

Knox requires prospective students to submit the Common Application, personal statement and the Knox supplement. Sophomore Diana Preshad believes that Knox should allow future prospective students to submit videos of themselves.

“I feel like writing and test grades don’t tell it all,” Preshad said. Prospective Knox students do have the option to not submitting their test scores.

“It makes it so a person isn’t just a piece of paper,” sophomore Lisa Blagg said. Having the option of submitting a YouTube video is nice for students who don’t have the option of visiting Knox.

“I feel like a certain type of student would do the video; using the video to up their image,” Blagg said. Senior Meg Allen gave the example of Elle Woods from the movie “Legally Blonde.”

Junior Marnie Shure said, “Your paper application, essay and test scores should sufficiently speak for you. You shouldn’t be able to win an objective committee over with your charm.”

One of the most popular videos on the official Knox College YouTube page is the Flunk Day 2009 video, with 2,930 hits. As for current Knox students, the multicultural fraternity colony Gentleman of Quality made a video called Gentleman of Quality’s “My Snuggie,” which has 127 hits.

Amanda White

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