College applicants shouldn’t rely on a viral YouTube video to spring them from the confines of a university’s lengthy wait list, admissions officials say—despite the success of one high-profile applicant whose video plea went viral.
Campus admissions officials frown on gimmicks like tins of homemade cookies or phone calls from vaguely famous relatives. But for one college hopeful, a Motown love song did the trick: After posting a YouTube video of himself singing about his love for the University of Michigan (UM), Lawrence Yong was plucked from the waitlist and admitted to the school’s 2012 freshman class.
Students who receive waitlist letters in April typically must wait until late June to see if any spots remain after admitted students submit their enrollment deposits.
In the meantime, the admissions officers encourage waitlisted students to share news recent accomplishments or supply additional information that would increase their chances of getting in.
These supplemental letters can be helpful to admissions staff. Because the student applies in the fall and waits until spring to hear a decision, “the university isn’t always certain whether the student is still interested or not,” said Jim Miller, who served as president of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC).
Click below to watch Yong’s video:
“But I would advise not to get too carried away with multimedia and technology, because some universities may have time and interest, and some might just set it aside,” he said. “At that point it’s just not very productive.”
While Miller credited Yong for showcasing his “character and personality in a very positive light,” he guessed that Yong “must have been a very strong candidate to begin with.”
“It was not that he was way down the list and [the video] catapulted [him] above 10,000 students,” Miller said.
Yong said he made the video instead of taking a more orthodox approach because he had already written an essay for his initial application, but “didn’t feel that it accurately conveyed who [he] was.”
The video was a way to “showcase some of my strengths and to give the school a face to go along with the application,” said Yong, who sang choir and a capella at his high school.
Yong reworked the lyrics to the Jackson 5 song “I Want You Back” to include his “dream to be a Wolverine” and to plead, “Oh Michigan, give me one more chance/to show you that I love you.”