It’s no secret that college admissions officers are allowing more creativity in the applications that they will accept. Last year, YouTube application videos were all the rage. This year, some schools, like the University of Iowa, are incorporating Twitter into the decision-making process.
The University of Iowa is offering a full scholarship to their business school. This means that around $37,000 is hanging on a 140 character tweet. This tweet is being used by the school to replace the second essay that is normally required in their application.
Some critics think that incorporating Twitter in the college application process is a bad idea.
“They’re devaluing their future,” said Jaron Lanier, author of You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto. “They’re identifying themselves with a fad rather than something more long term. It comes off as a school trying so hard to be cool.”
However, the University of Iowa isn’t the only one who is offering scholarships through Twitter. CollegeScholarships.org, Scholarship.com, and Kentucky Fried Chicken are just some of the other companies who are offering scholarships of up to $20,000 for tweeted responses to their various prompts.
Students are also loving this idea of incorporating two important qualities that post-graduates will need – making a point quickly and improving social media skills – into their college careers.
“I saw [the University of Iowa's Tweet scholarship] and I though, ‘Oh my gosh! Why not?’” said Kinzie Dekkenga, who wants to return to school in order to continue her education. “Taking the burden off the 800-word-essay was a huge incentive. I am on social media almost every day, so it’s more comfortable to Tweet than to write an essay.”
At first, I thought this sounded like a bad idea. Writing a college admission essay is a challenge, but it is part of the process that starts preparing students for a long college career of papers, exams, and all-nighters. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how difficult this prompt could be. If someone asked you why you wanted to go to college or why you deserved a $37,000 scholarship, could you answer them in 140-characters or less? I think it would be a major challenge, and Dekkenga seems to agree with me:
“It turns out… having to simply your thoughts down was much harder than I though,” she said. “I sat on the Twitter page and just kept typing things, but I was always 100 or 200 characters over.”
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Via USA Today