Tufts University has been in the news recently because of the supplement to their application that allows a student to “Share a one-minute video that says something about you.”
For Tufts optional essay, they allowed students to write on 7 different topics. But they also had a creative option that allowed students to create something out of a piece of paper or submit a one-minute video on YouTube. About 1,000 people choose to submit video.
Many people in the admissions world are lamenting the end of the world as we know it because of Tufts video option. Personally, I think it is great. Tufts did not require students to make a video. You can’t afford the equipment to make a video? No problem, do one of the other optional essays or actions. But student who wished to show their creativity that way could do so.
The director of Tufts undergraduate admissions, Lee Coffin, unfortunately made the comment after watching one of the videos that he was ready to admit the student without seeing the rest of the student’s application. OK, maybe he was overstating a bit. But should Tufts be willing to consider admitting a student with slightly lower grades or test scores who is incredibly creative? I think they should.
Creativity should not replace hard work and good grades in deciding who to admit to highly selective colleges like Tufts. But to use creativity as part of the consideration of who to accept is a good thing. The University of Chicago has done it for years with many of their essays. No one has suggested that Chicago is any the worse for doing so.
Not everyone is at their best in writing a creative essay. Some have strengths in more visual media, like video. Video is here to stay. Why shouldn’t it be allowed as one possible consideration in the college admissions decision making process?
Good for Tufts for letting those students shine.