Brian McLaughlin of Barrington, RI likes to skateboard, he plays the synthesizer in a rock band, and he can ride a unicycle while playing the ukulele. “In my video, I did it on the 5 foot unicycle. I don’t think I could do that anymore,” McLaughlin says.
That video he’s talking about is not something he put together for fun, but part of his college application to Tufts University. Allowing McLaughlin to show the admissions board who he is, beyond his academic achievements. “It’s kind of like Youtube and all these new things over the internet are like our generation's way of speaking. So it’s I guess, the admissions wants to see the world through our eyes, and I kind of think video is a really good idea to do that,” McLaughlin says.
Tufts is one of four colleges around the country to now allow students the option to upload a short video to Youtube to supplement the standard application, SAT scores, and academic record. This gives kids like McLaughlin a chance to show talents, creativity, and a point of view that normally doesn’t make it into the paperwork.
While current Tufts students we talked to all have different feelings about the video supplement, they all had their favorite video. The school tells us of the 15,400 applications they received, 700 students submitted the optional video essay, and some experts say allowing student to showcase their personality through technology is a great way for schools to stay on the cutting edge.
“Social media, the videos, blogging, audio, all of the tools that are out there today are going to be used more and more in everyone’s life,” says Debra Murphy, a marketing expert, who says, in the future, these type of personal videos will probably be used not only for college applications, but maybe even when applying for a job. “The resume is about your credentials, and that’s still very important,” Murphy says, “when people are hiring, they really want to know who the real person is, not just what their skills are.”
The videos range from complicated animation and stop-motion film making, to lip synching to iPods, showing how quickly you can do a Rubik’s cube, and even a custom made rap song to the admissions department. “I made it to nationals, but I didn’t do so well,” McLauglin’s cross country running made it into his video, and the video may have played a part in getting this high school senior the news he was looking for. “Congratulations, you made it. Don’t slack for your senior year,” McLaughlin doesn’t plan on slacking, as he’s moving to Medford in the fall as an engineering major as part of Tuft’s University class of 2014.
To See Brian McLaughlin’s Entire Optional Video Essay: