GMU Applicants Can Nix the Personal Essay for a Personal Video

With today’s ever growing technology, its almost like you can not do anything in your daily routine without the use of a computer, email, or something involving technology. For this reason, an article posted in The Washington Post should be of no surprise to anyone. The article talks about how more colleges are allowing video essays, rather than written essays, as part of their college applications requirements.

Many students spend their senior year of high school scouting colleges, gathering information on admission requirements, and applying to one or several colleges that they are interested in. Although most schools still have traditional requirements of a written essay, some schools such as Tufts University, GMU, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland, allow students to send video essays and encourage them to do so. Morgan Malone, a 17 year old high school student, submitted a video essay along with the other required criteria in hopes that the video lets admission officials see who she is and what she is like.

Many students use the videos to give admission officials a chance to get to know them, their lives, and their goals. Many videos include daily clips from their life, such as practice for a sport they play, a task they have in their student council, or other extracurricular activities they take part in at their high school. Some students include chants and songs they make up about the college they are applying to and others dance or come up with clever ways to incorporate their lives to the student life at their school of choice. Students that create the videos use them as an opportunity to express themselves better because they feel it can be done better in video, rather than in words.

While administrators that view college applications, letters of recommendation, and essays say that they have seen some pretty boring and bad quality videos, they also have seen many that are original, creative, and entertaining. School officials also say that in most cases the video alone will not be the main deciding factor in a student’s chance of getting into their college. It has also helped some colleges, such as GMU, which used to conduct interviews with students as part of the admissions practices. With the amount of applicants skyrocketing more each year, it would be nearly impossible to interview such a large amount of students, so the video essays helps the admission process.

And while some schools and administrators do not agree with the option of posting video essays online due to privacy issues, many school officials feel like the video shows them something. Because a lot of planning and hard work go into many of the videos school officials have seen, it shows that students making the videos aren’t exactly looking for easy ways out. They feel it allows them to express their artistic sides, but also shows hard work such as planning, shooting, and editing.

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