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Yale Welcomes the Use of Technology in College Applications

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Are you the next Steven Spielberg? Quentin Tarantino? Ava DuVernay? Well, now is the time to work your cinematic magic, because Yale has opened its arms to digital uploads in place of a short essay!

Since more and more of us spend time viewing content than reading it (summer reading list) in our daily lives, it’s not surprising that Yale is adapting to meet our content consumption habits.

“We thought we needed more material—different material—in the review process,” said Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s Dean of Admissions.

Last year, students were asked to submit the personal statement and other short-answer questions in addition to either two 200-word essays or one 250-word essay and a digital upload related to the essay, either through the Common Application or the Coalition App.

“It was critical to our review process that we not give preference to one application type over another. Our results from the first year bear this out; the rate of admission for students who submitted the Common Application and for students who submitted the Coalition Application were nearly identical,” said Quinlan.

The Dean of Admissions’ optimism makes us think the new submission choice will be an option worth carefully considering for future applicants. He raved, “We found certain situations, for example, where a video component made a difference—showed examples of kinds of characteristics we’re looking for.”

That’s not to say that the standard essay format will disappear anytime soon, though — essays are still the core of the college application. In fact, applicants submitting videos still have to write two essays and multiple short answer responses. This isn’t so much about change as it is expansion.

“We want the two applications to be different so students can be thoughtful about which they use and what they decide to present to us,” Quinlan added.

Creating the opportunity for Yale hopefuls to showcase their creativity in new ways is a step in the digital direction, and we expect other universities to follow in Yale’s path.

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