It’s no secret that the technology wave is still in full boom. Every time you turn around, there’s some new gadget that makes you think ‘wow I can’t believe they can do that.’ The younger generation is in on the ground floor. Those applying for college now have been brought up on text messaging, Youtube and Facebook. It comes as no surprise that the old way of writing essays may not seem as appealing to them as making a video essay. But is that really a good thing? Some times there can be too much technology.
The Green wave of environmental enthusiasm has made writing things on paper seem like a crime. Since I’ve applied to college a mere 11 years ago or so, it seems that many more colleges quickly switched to online essays. That quickly opened the gate for college video essays. I first heard of these while seeing the movie Legally Blonde, a 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon in which she uses a video essay to apply to Harvard Law (of course she gets in). Over the years, the idea of using application videos has become more and more popular. Many schools even encourage the use of videos instead of essays. Some schools, such as Tufts, have received over 1,000 application videos according to the New York Times. That number figures to grow. Already several other schools, including William and Mary, are following suit.
I’m somewhat against the idea of application videos. I’m not saying they are without merit. It offers many people an extra opportunity to be creative. In a vigorous process where distinguishing yourself to a good school is very important, an application video can seal the deal. I’m also not saying they are easier than essays. College boards will no doubt only accept the best of these videos. Therefore like an essay, you have to put a lot of effort in to them, both for content and production. There is definitely merit to be had in these.
However, writing skills are very important. In an era where text messaging has become vastly popular, and many people, especially teenagers, talk in abbreviated words like ‘LOL’ and ‘IDK’, the last thing we need to do is find ways to make them write less. The college essay serves as a great opportunity to showcase your writing abillity as well as your creativity, and your goals in life. It paints a great picture for a college admissions board, far more than standardized tests do. I’d much rather see all schools stilll require this, and if you choose to add a video as an extra, more power to you.
My other concern about videos is that many become Youtube sensations. Already countless videos have become hugely popular out there. I’m wondering if those making these videos are more satisfied with being a brief Youtube celebrity than they are with being accepted in to college. Getting in to college is a very important step in life. It’d be a shame to have it be lowered by people who are more interested in 15 minutes of fame than 4 years of life building.
I applaud college admissions boards for encouraging creativity. It’s a very important thing to do. But I hope they realize they shouldn’t do it at the expense of a college essay. My college essay was one of my favorite witing pieces I’ve done. I remember my favorite: “Write page 284 of your 500 page autobiography.” Creative writing should be encouraged, not thought of as archaic.