Michigan Gave Him One More Chance — Would Other Admissions Officials?

Applying to your dream college can either lead to one of the happiest moments in your academic career or to one of the most disappointing.  After the grueling application process, you wait a torturous four to six months until you finally get that email from Dream School University. Once you  muster up the courage to open it, what follows is either an elated blur of happy dances and shrill, incoherent phone calls to family and friends or a painful period of hiding under the covers in disappointment, bitterly resigning to your future  working in fast food joints. Having applied to two different dream schools, first as a freshman and again as a transfer student, I’ve experienced both of these moments.

But what happens to the students who are wait listed? Imagine waiting all that time for Dream School University’s letter, only to find that your limbo has been extended another 10 weeks. What’s a kid to do in the meantime?

High school senior Lawrence Yong of Los Angeles was placed on University of Michigan’s wait list, but he wasn’t content to wait it out. He took matters into his own hands by creating a video that proved to University of Michigan’s admissions office that he ain’t too proud to beg.  Yong reworded the lyrics of the Motown hit “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5, pleading “Oh, Michigan give me one more chance/to show you that I love you./Won’t you please let me into your school?”

Yong decided to make a video because he felt like his original essay submission “didn’t…accurately convey who [he] was.” Instead, he said the video “showcased some of his strengths and gave the school a face to go along with the application.”

His daring paid off — Yong was admitted to University of Michigan’s 2012 freshman class, one of the 42 students plucked from a wait list of nearly 4,500.

Yet according to this month’s eCampus News article on college admissions, most admission officials don’t want students pulling a Lawrence Yong or an Elle Woods — in other words, they don’t want students relying on multimedia gimmicks when applying to schools. The article quoted Jim Miller, president of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, who said, “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. At that point, it’s just not very productive.” Instead, admissions officials encourage wait listed students to send supplemental letters to universities in the meantime, citing recent accomplishments or supplying additional information to show the university they’re still interested.

Lawrence Yong’s unique situation begs an important question: should university admissions officials be open to creative submissions, or should the standardized admissions procedure stay in place to keep the playing field equal among all candidates?

Well, I’m no university admissions official, but I’d give a creative and earnest kid like Lawrence Yong one more chance any day.

Technapex readers, what do you think? Share your opinion in the comments section below!

Caity Doyle

Caity is a former English teacher and the editor of Technapex. Caity is extremely passionate about education and is TriplePoint PR's resident edtech expert. When not researching education policy and edtech, she enjoys running along the Bay Trail while blaring the Boss through her headphones, watching the Giants beat the Dodgers, and meeting fellow Italians in North Beach.

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About Caity Doyle

Caity is a former English teacher and the editor of Technapex. Caity is extremely passionate about education and is TriplePoint PR's resident edtech expert. When not researching education policy and edtech, she enjoys running along the Bay Trail while blaring the Boss through her headphones, watching the Giants beat the Dodgers, and meeting fellow Italians in North Beach.