As I was browsing the New York Times Web site (as any good journalism student should do, right?), I came across an article that almost made me want to try my luck at Tufts University. I mean, how can anyone go wrong with a university that encourages prospective students to submit imaginative YouTube videos as part of the application process?
The article outlined several students who took advantage of the option, like the student who sent in a video of a remote-control elephant helicopter buzzing around. Yes, you read that right — an elephant helicopter. (I recommend this video.)
Search for “Tufts application” on YouTube and peruse the different choices — students sing, dance, rap, twirl flaming batons and, my personal favorite, give a lesson on “how to raise your street cred.”
The YouTube idea was great by itself, but the New York Times article also said the university was “known for its quirky applications.”
I think we all know where I went next.
In addition to the typical requests for information about extracurricular activities, honors and awards, etc., the essay topics actually made me laugh out loud (and outed me for slacking at work).
Soon, though, my coworkers were reading and laughing with me.
How could we not laugh at the idea of high schoolers writing 250 to 400-word optional essays on topics like: “Kermit the Frog famously lamented ‘It’s not easy being green.’ Do you agree?” and “Are we alone?” I’d love to read some of these.
Or how about taking a predetermined story title like “The Getaway” or “Drama at the Prom” and writing your heart out? The journalist in me wants to sit down and try my luck just for the fun of it.
Tufts kept non-writers in mind, too. In addition to the YouTube option, students can choose to use an 8.5 by 11-inch piece of paper to create something — anything.
The reasoning behind these optional applications, according to the Tufts Web site, is that “critical thinking, creativity, practicality and wisdom are four elements of successful leadership,” and these essays would offer a chance for students to demonstrate these traits.
I’m pretty settled here at MU, but I do know one thing — if journalism doesn’t work out for me, I’m heading straight for Tufts to join their admissions team.