Remember how we freaked you out with the caliber of the video (and audio) essays submitted to UCLA last year? How amazing those candidates were?
And remember how you discounted the whole thing, saying, “Who cares? None of my other schools want me to do a video. And even UCLA has that essay as optional. I’m not going to bother.”
Well guess what? There’s more reason to bother now.
NYU apparently is now accepting video and audio submissions for its “personal expression” essay. This has been the classic “unusual” essay question, one of the very first ever that stretched the boundaries of what a typical MBA essay should be. Stern has had it for years. It’s stumped applicants consistently ever since.
And previously, they encouraged applicants to be creative — but they didn’t allow things like food or clothing to be sent in, and they stated that anything submitted electronically would be printed. Color was fine, so photos or a PowerPoint were typically an ideal way to hit the “creative” button.
Except that that wasn’t all that creative for most people. Especially when Booth introduced their “PowerPoint” essay question — a question which from the Booth side has now been expanded to be a “blank pages” essay meaning you could do with it whatever you wanted. In the past two years, people applying to both Booth and NYU would often create one PowerPoint presentation and submit it to both (and of course the schools knew it).
Now, you can create one video essay and submit it to both UCLA and NYU — but not Booth since they do require the “blank pages” essay to be printed.
The NYU website doesn’t emphasize the fact that video/audio are now accepted although they did change the instructions on their essay page and it’s clear that they’re willing to play your submission in any format, since you can put it on a CD or flash drive and send it in. (FedEx is recommended if you do that, folks – it’s trackable and they’re reliable).
Yes, creating a video (or an audio too) is a significant amount of work. But guess what? YOU WILL STAND OUT. Take a look at those UCLA submissions again. They’re compelling. They SHOW you who the applicant is. Show you. They don’t tell you. Isn’t that the essence of what we’ve been trying to hammer home all these months?
Here’s an easy prediction: next year, there will be more schools accepting video submissions. And within a few years, they will be REQUIRED. How efficient is that? Adcoms can sit back with some popcorn and watch a bunch of videos before deciding who they like. And they might not even need to do the interviews done the road, depending on how it all shakes out. Most definitely video esssays are the way this world is going to go.
And you think writing essays is hard?!?