Most cities like to build their image around something unique to them.
Memphis, for example, calls itself the birthplace of the blues and the home of rock ‘n roll (sorry Cleveland, it started here).
Nashville lays claim to country music capital of the world.
Las Vegas is … well, that’s too obvious.
And Boston? Boston is different because Boston boasts education. It is the only city with more college campuses than McDonald’s franchises.
I taught at two of these schools and lived a stone’s throw from a third, Tufts University, which has a great vet school and an undegraduate program rated 28th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
That’s why I was somewhat surprised by recent stories about this elite school taking college applications over YouTube. Seriously? As Las Vegas would say, you bet.
Another video features Rachel Goldstein, wearing what looks like a Burger King crown and standing in a tree while playing her guitar and singing a song she wrote.
In a third video, Alex McCue goes acapella from his living room, putting his request to accept him in an original Michael Buble-style song.
These three are joined by many others on the first YouTube screen alone (under the category of “Tufts Video Essays”). Most of the video essays run between 60-90 seconds.
Last week, in this space, we looked at how students are discovering more about potential colleges via the social media. But the reverse of that is also true, as Tufts is showing America: colleges can find out more about prospective students over the same venue.
The Tufts experiment is interesting in more than one way, because this could also turn out to be an ingenous way for colleges and universities to publicize themselves even more on the social media.
A Lot of Takers
The option has become popular according to published reports by Lee Coffin, director of undergraduate admissions at Tufts. Thus far, some 1,000 applicants (out of 15,000) have posted YouTube videos as part of their applications to the school.
Under the school’s “creating something” option, applicants have the option of either creating something on paper or creating a viral video of their uniqueness. The video basically lets the kids have a chat with the admissions officer via video and, in effect, says “This is who I am.”
At least it’s who I am in the virtual world, which is becoming more real with every passing day.