本月早些时候，爱荷华大学蒂皮管理学院（Tippie School of Management）引入了一个幻灯片选项。申请人可以选择在截止日期（7月14日）之前提交一个幻灯片陈述资料（想一想一个包含社交媒体内容，犹如打了类固醇的PPT文档是什么样子），以代替两篇申请入学论文。
蒂皮管理学院或许已经放弃了Twitter作文，但其他商学院正在采用这种方式。乔治敦大学麦克多诺商学院（McDonough School of Business） 和亚利桑那州立大学WP凯瑞商学院（W.P. Carey School of Business）都要求候选人提交一篇以140字以内的申请入学“短文”。乔治城大学负责MBA招生事宜的副院长莎丽•休伯特认为，Twitter的简洁性是一个额外收获。“Twitter的精髓在于，申请人通过简洁而精辟的文字解释乔治敦大学对他们真正有吸引力的地方，”她说。“它也为候选人提供了一个脱颖而出的机会，那些具有首创精神、创造性地链接至其他资源的学生分外引人注目。”另外，Twitter还很有趣味。她补充说：“看了一篇又一篇的申请短文之后，大家总想看到简短有趣、别开生面的东西。”
Applying to a top MBA program requires an applicant to churn out several well crafted essays on everything from why they want the degree to what matters most in their lives.
But imagine if you could sell yourself as the perfect fit for your top-choice school in just 140 characters. Or better yet, imagine if you could simply link to your personal blog where you described the launch of a micro-enterprise or a backpacking trip through Peru?
Prospective MBAs aren't the only ones who find a blog post, Tweet, or Facebook status more palatable than a dense, and often dull, admissions essay. Admissions officials at top B-schools across the country are increasingly offering alternatives to the traditional application that make those painstaking essays less important.
For many B-schools, the flourishing admissions consulting industry has made it increasingly difficult to separate the real candidate from the carefully groomed one. To help get around the gloss of a high-priced coaching package, institutions are experimenting with ways to meet candidates in their personal worlds -- primarily via social media.
Earlier this month, the University of Iowa's Tippie School of Management introduced a SlideShare option. Candidates applying before the July 14 deadline have the choice of submitting a SlideShare presentation (think PowerPoint on steroids with a social media component) in place of two admissions essays.
Tippie made headlines two years ago when it piloted the application Tweet, where candidates made their case for admission in 140 characters or fewer. "We just felt like essays were getting kind of stale, and we wanted something that was current and in a place where our applicants would want to be found," says Jodi Schafer, the director of admissions for Tippie's full-time MBA program.
Aspiring MBAs were all for it. Nearly every single applicant during the summer of 2011 opted for the Tweet "essay" instead of the traditional one. Tippie kept the program around for the next academic year, and Schafer estimates the majority of applicants chose the Tweet option. But the school scrapped this alternative during last year's admissions cycle. Many prospective students fell back on the tweet as an easy copout. Instead of pithy posts with embedded links to blogs, videos, and personal websites, the admissions committee received sparse statements and had to dig further during the interviews. "That defeated the whole purpose," Schafer says.
Last year, Tippie introduced a mandatory image essay, where students submitted a picture or collage and explained in 350 words why it was meaningful. But the single image still didn't provide a well-rounded portrait of the applicant. So, at the urging of a student focus group, Tippie introduced the SlideShare option, which taps into social media and provides admissions officials with a more thorough sense of prospective students.
Tippie may have nixed the Twitter essay, but other schools are now adopting it. Both Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business and Arizona State's W.P. Carey School of Business have an application "essay" that must be answered in 140 characters or fewer. For Shari Hubert, Georgetown's associate dean of MBA admissions, the brevity of a Tweet is a bonus. "It's about the applicant being succinct and being pithy and explaining what's really appealing to them about Georgetown," she says." It's also an opportunity for candidates to stand out -- those with the initiative and creativity to link to other resources can set their applications apart. Plus, it's fun. "After reading essay, after essay, after essay you want to look at something fun, different and short," she adds.