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Colleges across America have finally gotten with the program and realized what's really relevant in admissions decisions. It isn't frivolities like applicants' personal heroes or views on the world's problems — no, it's their favorite amusement park rides.
Several universities have revamped their application essays to include questions more closely resembling the stuff they ask Demi Lovato in Tiger Beat than the questions you might one day be asked in a job interview. Brandeis is now asking its prospective students, "Imagine you have to wear a costume for a year of your life. What would you pick and why?" while Columbia wants you to tell them what the best movie of all time is. The University of Maryland would like to know your "favorite thing about last Tuesday" (a day noted for its crazy happenstances), and Emory asks you to explain how your favorite amusement park ride reflects your approach to life. Several of these prompts, like Columbia's film one, also confine the responses to twenty-five words or less, which begs the question: How are students supposed to detail the glorious intricacies of Point Break without at least a paragraph?
Even more innovative is Dayton University's move to make scholarships into a social media popularity contest. Applicants have the option of submitting a video essay response to the question, "What does it mean to be a servant leader?" this year, and those who receive the most votes on Facebook will become finalists for a $40,000 scholarship over four years.
Really, I'm just bitter these questions weren't around when I was applying to colleges, because I would've killed the University of Chicago's prompt, "What does Play-Doh have to do with Plato?"