Welcome to College Admissions World, where YouTube is cutting edge

Legally Blonde is a way smarter movie than anyone gives it credit. When Reese Witherspoon’s ultra-ditzy, fashion-obsessed character woos the admissions officers at Harvard Law School with a home video in which she prances around in a bikini, she’s really just making a preemptive and highly savvy parody of what’s happening at Tufts this year.

Two stories have popped up this week – the first in the Globe, the second now floating atop the New York Times’s most e-mailed list – about the option Tufts has begun giving its applicants to make short YouTube videos showcasing talents or quirks as a supplement to academic records and recommendations. [ /!\ SPOILER ALERT /!\ ] High school seniors really do how to use the Internet! And 1,000 of them sent in videos this year as part of their Tufts applications.

Judging by the tone of the Globe and Times articles, the Ivory Tower is a magical world in which run-of-the-mill Internet activity – making goofy home videos and posting them online – becomes a novel and charming expression of talent and creativity.

“I thought, ‘If this kid applied to Tufts, I’d admit him in a minute, without anything else,’” the school's Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Lee Coffin told the Times, describing his reaction to a YouTube video that inspired his decision to change up the application process. (Although he said in another interview that even a brilliant video can’t fully supplement a terrible academic record. Make up your mind, Coffin!) The Globe labeled the influx of YouTube admissions clips as a “creative flood,” and one excited applicant-turned-video-star said the whole idea was “very cool.” Another explained that the video option inspired a decision to apply to the school in the first place. Tufts Class of 2014 T-shirt slogan forthcoming: “I turned down RISD to be a Jumbo!”

Thanks to the democratizing forces of this here mystical Web, these little application gems aren’t bound by the usual fortress of secrecy that is the college admissions office. They’re accessible on YouTube with a quick search of the phrase “Tufts application,” and we’ve culled a group of some of the finest clips for your viewing pleasure. Provided these kids had checks for 50k a year to throw at you, wouldn’t their videos convince you to let them into YOUR school?

Who knew that “burger hopping,” soccer, lacrosse, band, family, paintball, team work [sic], video games, school spirit, “more burger hopping” and FUN could all fit into one minute of a Creed song?

Um, college isn’t usually a prerequisite for the kind of rap stardom this kid’ll be facing, but I guess it’s nice to have something to fall back on.

Okay, this one’s actually pretty clever.

Most journalists toil for years without the slightest hope of making it onto the pages of the Times. Thanks to Amelia Downs, reigning queen of video essays, we know that all it takes is a simple combination of “being a nerd and dancing.”

*DISCLAIMER: The author of this post is a senior at Tufts University who probably didn’t even know what YouTube was when she applied four years ago.
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