Tweet Deal! One University Is Offering A $37,000 Scholarship To The Student With The Best Twitter “Essay”
If you’re over the age of 25 and you have a college degree, you probably remember hand-crafting all of the essays you had to send in to different universities as a high school senior during the application process. Maybe you got lucky and applied to a bunch of different schools that all asked the same type of question. But, if you didn’t, it meant spending hours, even days, writing essays, punching them out on a word processor (ugh!), and then mailing them out along with your application.
Those days are about to be over. The Henry B. Tippie School of Management at the University of Iowa is taking a brand-new approach to essays for those applying to their MBA program. Specifically, they’re doing away with essays altogether and, instead, posing an essay question—and then having applicants answer the question in the form of a tweet. That’s right. No more sitting down and creating double-spaced tomes about why you should be accepted. Just one simple response, in less than 140 characters, that tells the school why you would make an exceptional Tippie full-time MBA candidate. Pretty cool, if you ask us. And, best of all? Iowa is offering a full scholarship worth a little more than $37,000 to the applicant who provides the best answer to the question this year.
Of course, there is a catch here. Applicants are only allowed to use 140 characters to provide their answers. However, they’re also allowed to use those 140 characters to provide links that will take administrators to their Facebook pages, YouTube videos, and blogs so that they can explain themselves further. They’re not required to do so, but they are encouraged to make the most of their 140 characters, so it’s safe to say that they should definitely provide at least one link to an outside site that will give administrators a better idea of who they are. This approach to essay-writing hasn’t amounted to a huge increase in enrollment, but it has caught the eyes of a number of prospective students who say they’re more interested in Iowa as a result of it.
Moving forward, we’d like to see this style of essay-writing used at other institutions as well. Think about it: As a kid getting ready for college, you have a handful of things in your life that help define you as a person these days. From the blog you maintained during high school to the Facebook page you set up to keep you connected to your friends and family, you probably have more information readily available than you can fit into a one or two-page essay when you apply for school. But with this idea of “tweeting” your essay, you get the opportunity to provide school administrators with the 140 characters that best define you. Maybe that literally means 140 characters, maybe that means 90 characters and a link to a PowerPoint presentation about yourself, and maybe it means nothing but links a bunch of different outside sources that explain you best. It’s a real clever way to get young adults to think about what it is that makes them unique from other young adults—and gives them a chance to be creative when they share it with schools.
This concept is one that should catch on in other parts of the country quickly. Aside from just being a novel idea that will bring attention to schools, it also attracts a certain type of forward-thinking person who wants to put the time and effort into setting themselves apart from the pack. And, hey: It’s turning tweets into something functional that can get you into college! So for all of you out there who still get badgered about your love for the social media site, you can finally have a good answer when someone asks you, “What’s the point of Twitter?”
Plus, $37,000 for 140 characters doesn’t sound like a bad deal to us. Not bad at all.