Skip to content ↓
MIT student blogger Chris S. '11

MIT, Time to Step Up? by Chris S. '11

just in today

Youtube video supplements in college admissions

As applicants, what are your thoughts?

29 responses to “MIT, Time to Step Up?”

  1. bossman'14 says:

    I don’t think it will be a good thing to do this, not only will they FLOOD youtube, but it will also allow schools to figure out where students applied, on top of that people may go OVER the top, or have someone who is not them portray themselves as extremely talented. Those are my thoughts, let the application speak for itself

  2. Piper '12 says:

    No reason you can’t currently send a YouTube video in. Jus’ sayin’ >.>

  3. Manan Gandhi says:

    In my application I posted a link to my blog where I had posted my first presentation at a development meet in Chicago. As someone said that there is no reason why someone cannot do that right now. But the problem arises when admission makes it official that students ‘CAN’ post videos along with their application. It becomes a problem to many international students who do not have enough resources to make videos. Having brought up in India I have seen that as of now many students who will to go to MIT are not able to do so because they do not have internet to fill out their application. Those applicants truly deserve to come to MIT

  4. Ben VB says:

    I’ve had to do several videos for school projects, and so far they’ve all turned into horrible experiences. I’ve only ever seen home movies work with iMovie, and then when the camera’s in an Apple-happy format. Maybe I’ve just been stuck with the bad end, but I wouldn’t be thrilled about a video (as “optional” is one of those vague words), although I might have tried to make one in the end.

    Also, although the article said privacy wasn’t a big concern to the applicants, it probably should be, and having a major university encourage a lack of privacy isn’t necessarily a good idea. I would be willing to trust MIT to come up with an encrypted video-upload system, though smile

  5. Mohammad'14? says:


    The essays are one thing, there is no ‘talent’ to be found in essays. What there is to be found is your unique personality, and I doubt anyone would let themselves be suckered into not showing their own personalities. Furthermore, many things can be portrayed in a video that cannot be in an essay. Such as, someone being able to throw a football oh, 50 yards, or someone who can play a piano like mozzart. Anyone can say they can do those things, but to do them, is another thing. And thats where the question of whether or not this is trusted comes in.

  6. Anon says:

    As an applicant, my thoughts are that I’m glad I’ve applied this year and not in future years. >.>

    (well, maybe I /would/ have had fun with it, and it probably would have added dimension to my application, but just no– not while juggling all my other applications and piles of first-semester schoolwork and other things.)

  7. Han '14 says:

    Our Chinese government even blocks youtube…

  8. O'Malley says:

    I agree with Manan in that there really isn’t anything from stopping applicants from submitting videos now. In my application I included a link to a personal website that has videos and pictures of projects. I didn’t tailor or create a video for MIT, but the admissions office does have access to them. I think it’s a creative idea that allows the admissions office to gain insight that a normal application may otherwise lack.

  9. Lydia AK says:

    I think it’d be fun (assuming it’d be optional) for people who already videotape every other major (and minor) event in their lives (like me). I haven’t had time to make YouTube videos out of those random events, but given such an excellent excuse I would love to.

  10. 12npm12 says:

    Good things for applicants; jobs for the admissions officers. At the beginning, unfairness will arise. After all, I believe things like videos, pictures, or even interview, are just as helpful as essays. They are all fundamentally good. It is we who make it worse.

  11. Jamie '14? says:

    I think that this could certainly be a valuable way to see certain applicants in a more complete light, however there are also some downsides. MIT looks at all applications holistically with regards to each individual’s situation, including their financial one. If videos were to be considered, it could be providing those of relatively higher income and extra time due to not needing to work during the school year an advantage. I also agree that the ability to edit videos is a specific one that relatively few people have.
    At the same time, as a EA deferral, I probably would have made one of these if I had seen this before it was to late

  12. 12npm12 says:

    What about a Pushkin-like essay?
    Videos can portray personalities and some other things that the adcom expect to see. Tufts would like to see quirkiness, then a video showing a ball thrown 50 yards is useless.
    Videos, essays, pictures, projects, websites, interviews, etc, are only the tools. It is the applicants’ job to show what they are supposed to show, this way or that way, via essays or via videos. Trying to be another Mozzart, instead of showing real talents or personalities, doesn’t give them an edge, and definitely ruins the application.

  13. I think it would be a cool idea, but as ‘bossman’14’ mentioned, there might be a little over kill. Many people recognize MIT as one of the best schools not just in the country but in the entire WORLD. While Tufts is an excellent school, people will indeed go overboard, try to game the system, etc. in their videos. Furthermore, it may actually hurt applicants rather than help them, as some of them might try TOO hard and ruin their character in the eyes of the committee. There are many positives and negatives to this, and ultimately, I think its a bad idea, because MIT, unlike many others, values the interview very much, and I feel like if you really want to portray yourself in a way in which you cannot on the application they give you, that’s the place to do it! All the best!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Mohammad ’14

    MIT values students whose parents can afford to send them to fancy schools which get the students fancy awards for things like “research.” They seem to value this quality much more than they value any good interview.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t disagree more with the individual above. Research opportunities are available for students who do not have wealthy parents who can afford to send them to “fancy schools”. I think that such a blunt statement is embarrassingly ignorant.

  16. Mohammad'14? says:

    @Anonymous, everyone has their own view, and I respect your view. However, I do not go to a ‘fancy’ school, and heck, the only thing my parents pay for is my lunch! Yet, I have managed to gain an invaluable research opportunity (at a lab that I won’t name here), no fancy schools, deep pockets, or long contact list required. MIT definitely values the interview more than you may think, I personally liked my EC a lot, and if anything, it made me want to go to MIT more because of how laid back my alumna was. Also, just to close, MIT definitely considers applicants in context, if an applicant comes from a family in which he/she does not have even the money available to pay for transportation to something like a lab, then that will be taken into consideration. I strongly doubt they will count something against you if they realize you have the passion/initiative to do it, but due to some circumstances it just can’t be done.

  17. 12npm12 says:

    If it’s a bad idea, why does MIT still give us chances to provide it along with other things (in the additional info space, MYR, etc)? Just in the same way, essays or interviews may hurt the applicants, too. You think everyone does have a chance to contact their ECs? You think everyone does have such nice EC like yours?
    MIT opens all the ways for us. And it is our job to depict ourselves in the application. Their job is to recognize who the applicant really is and evaluate that. There is no ultimate tool here.

  18. Hannah'12 says:

    I have to agree with Mohammad on this one, the things you mentioned 12n, are things that are sufficient for an applicant to express themselves on the application. As Mohammad mentioned, if videos are in fact allowed, you will see a whole lot of kids ‘playing’ the system (if you will) and portray themselves as some super talented, I’mgoodateverything image, which can really look bad. However, I do agree that there may be some light in this idea, perhaps an applicant has something really meaningful to portray in a video, but it also is unfair to those coming from families with low incomes, as they may not have a nice video camera with a tripod stand or a macbook to do the editing on. Also, I think you may be a little bitter perhaps because of a bad interview, please do not regard your EC as the only representative of the MIT community, I believe it is somewhere on this site but they cannot represent the student body fully. That said, everyone does, in fact, have a chance to contact their ECs (I don’t really see how they wouldn’t your sent an email to do so!) But in the end, you are correct (12n) because it is ultimately the duty of the applicant to show them why he/she will be a wonderful addition to the community here at MIT.

  19. 12npm12 says:

    Oh, I didn’t mean that I had a bad interview. Actually my EC is very nice; he tried to spend time on an interview with me though he was very busy. However I’ve seen some people let down by their ECs. I know they do not represent MIT in everything, and that’s why I said the interview may hurt the applicant, too.

    I think it is unfair only when the adcom don’t look at the applications holistically. I mean, in any case, we still have a solution. Some applicants don’t have a chance to conduct an interview, and MIT, being aware of this, has already provided them a way to notify MIT about that. There is no difference between those interviewed and those who cannot have an interview; the difference is between them and those who refuse to have an interview. Likewise, there is a difference between those who portray themselves well in the videos or do not have a camera and those who are Einstein-wanna-be. And there is a huge difference between those who try their best to portray themselves in the application and those who try to deceive the adcom.

    Though there are disadvantages for those who don’t have good conditions, I believe MIT’s adcom are skilled enough to recognize who deserves to present him/herself at MIT, because that’s their job.

  20. jamesmgg says:

    I guess this would be good to show the “real you” instead of just reading who you are on paper. But it could also be very stressing for applicants and it would be very time consuming for the admissions committee to see all videos.

  21. brian says:

    this idea certainly has limitations. incase your talent isn’t audio or visual or both (eg writing) it cannot be used. i agree with bossman ’14 that you can have someone else disguise himself as you for a better performance. as an international, a majority lack the equipment, internet access and the skills in video editting to post their videos. i think this idea needs to be improved upon. is youtube that secure to begin with?

  22. I think posting links can achieve this already. But stating this in black and white is not a good idea. Optional, again, is a vague word, at least to applicants.

  23. 12npm12 says:

    @Brian: No. And is using essays that safe to trust?
    The more vague it is, the more challenging it gets, the easier for the adcom to recognize who knows what is enough and what is excessive. It’s just “optional”, not “strongly recommended”.
    Anyway I think the idea agrees with Tufts’ policies (it’s a sign that making videos is no longer a brilliant idea to them), but to MIT, its additional info space does much a better job.

  24. LucidLunatic says:

    I don’t see it as necessary. Furthermore, not everyone has a video camera available to them, or the time to put together a worthwhile video. What could be done in a video, other than an artistic performance, that would improve upon an application?

  25. I think it’s a wonderful idea. In fact, is there anyone from admissions who could say whether a deferred EA or Regular applicant can post a youtube video MIT oriented in the next couple of days as a final supplement to the application? It’d be pretty cool to see MIT videos fly up over the next couple of days (and I’d be pretty pumped to make a video too smile)

  26. Ammar says:

    While I wouldn’t make such a video, the idea isn’t actually half bad. The MIT application already has a blog with pics or videos of the applicant’s inventions or creations, which I believe would be more than enough to showcase anything.

    But a video of one minute about the applicant ?
    Well, that kind of thing seems pretty difficult to pull off if you don’t have the necessary footage (I don’t, I had trouble finding even pics) and talking about yourself would be just a recording of you reading an old-fashioned essay.

    Media and animation ability ? Sure, but that’s one talent that unless we’re looking for in particular shouldn’t merit requesting it specifically, especially when that kind of talent can also be shown in a dedicated video or a few samples through the aforementioned blog. This is MIT you know, not SAE institute.

    While this might be a nice idea (or even 4w3som3) for some people, I’m personally not really that impressed by it.

  27. Mohammad'14? says:

    “Trying to be another Mozzart, instead of showing real talents or personalities, doesn’t give them an edge, and definitely ruins the application.” And doesn’t that, validate my initial statement that it will do more harm than good? smile

  28. 12npm12 says:

    Well my opinion is that even if it’s video or essay or anything, it’s just a tool. Making it official to allow videos doesn’t change anything much (except for that it’s a sign that making videos is no longer a brilliant idea, as I mentioned above). At the end of the day, the adcom make their decision on the applicants, not which type of camera they own. So it’s harm or it’s goodness, that depends on the applicants, and also, the acumen of the adcom. When an applicant tries to be another Einstein, he/she is definitely ruining his/her application.