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“I think the whole college process has become a formula and about trying to sound a certain way,” says 17-year-old Gaby Stein. “I think you lose a lot of individuality.”
Luckily for her, Tufts University, Gaby’s top-choice college, offers a unique application. Applicants have the option to submit a video that answers the question, “Who are you?”
Having taken a media arts class in high school, Gaby jumped at the chance. She made a stop-motion video called “My Recipe for Tufts” that displays her broad interests and experiences, from travelling to gymnastics to, of course, art.
It worked: Gaby was accepted early decision to Tufts.
“I think the college process needs an additional view of its applicants,” she says. “[A video] is a great way for kids to express another part of themselves...especially if you’re not good at writing.”
With colleges becoming more competitive seeking unique individuals, showcasing a musical or artistic talent can distinguish an applicant. An admissions counselor at a top-20 university agrees.
“Your SAT score isn’t what makes you a valuable member of the campus community,” he says. “It’s also what you contribute outside the classroom, in the arts, in anything.”
Tufts isn't the only college accepting multimedia submissions. George Mason University received a record number of video essays this year. It’s one of several schools that accept videos, which gives students the opportunity to, as a GMU admissions counselor puts it, “showcase...what makes them tick” beyond scores and essays.
Everyone, even those who don’t plan to major in arts or music, deserves the chance to display their creativity on college applications. That includes those who submit over three million applications to the 488-plus colleges that accept the Common Application.
Help us ask the Common Application to include an optional 1- to 2-minute video upload as part of the application, which allows applicants to showcase their arts, music, or other creative talent.
Make your voice heard by telling the Common App to emphasize arts, expression, and young people’s individuality. Sign the petition, and share it with your friends. We’ll deliver the names to the Common App Board of Directors.
UPDATE: You spoke up. The Common App responded.
“It is clear from your petition that we share a common goal of empowering applicants to express their backgrounds and talents.” That's what the Common App board said because you spoke up and signed the petition.
While they aren’t going to add a video upload section the main application, the Common App is encouraging students to show their creative and artistic talents on the Additional Information section.
“This section exists so that students can share circumstances or qualifications not reflected elsewhere in the application,” they said. “A URL pointing a reader to a video or other online portfolio would be a perfect use of Additional Information.”
UPDATE: We reached 10,000 signatures in just three days! Now, we're growing our cause larger and our voice louder. Keep signing and sharing to reach our new goal of 25,000 signatures.