After two years, the University of Iowa business school’s headline-making “application tweet” contest has seen its last days.
Back in summer 2011, the Tippie School of Management announced a pilot program asking applicants to explain, via one tweet, why they would be a good Tipple candidate and future MBA hire.
The initiative was a success, and the school made it a formal part of the application process as of last year. Students could either write a second essay, or write a thought-provoking tweet. Those who chose the “twessay” were entered into a contest for a full-tuition Tippie scholarship.
Unfortunately, the buck stopped there. The Twitter contest was popular with applications, but didn’t live up to the school’s hopes, according to Jodi Schafer, Tippie’s director of MBA admissions and financial aid. The admissions had hoped to see innovation, such as tweets linking to a video or PowerPoint, or a showcase of the candidate’s personality.
In 2011, the year Tippie piloted the contest, Texas applicant John Yates for submitting a tweet in the form of a haiku. Amber Davis, a University of Iowa alum from Arkansas, won the $36,400 domestic scholarship contest last year with a tweet that linked to a self-produced video about herself; and Indian applicant Rahul Rathi won last year’s international scholarship contest with a tweet that linked to a photo slideshow highlighting his strengths.
But those standouts were just that – an anomaly among mediocre entries. Some of that had to do with lack of comfort with Twitter. In fact, apparently many applicants admitted during admissions interviews that they either didn’t tweet regularly, or didn’t have a Twitter account.
Other business schools are starting to integrate innovative admissions practices into their vetting process. For example, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business now requires applicants to submit a list of 25 “random things,” like life experiences, achievements or fun facts. But none have touched the Twitter essay.
What do you think about the idea of involving social media in graduate school applications? Are you surprised that it didn’t prove successful at Tippie?
(Admissions image from Shutterstock)