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The New College Essay

The college admissions essay is getting a makeover.
 
In lieu of the standard topics-your trip to France junior year, or winning the state championship in high school- some colleges and universities are getting a little more creative this year.
 

Brandeis University asked applicants if they had to wear a costume for a year, what would they pick and why. Brown University wants to know instances of when their applicants felt they “truly belonged” or what they would do if they knew there was no risk of failure. Yale asked applicants to recall a compliment they received and especially value- and to answer in 25 words or less.
 
Yes, it would seem that some of the country’s most prestigious schools are taking a page out of the Twitter handbook- culminating in peculiar questions.
 
While a shorter word count may seem like an appealing change to the college admissions process, it may increase the stress level for students. Additionally, other schools like Tufts University and George Mason University have integrated a video essay option instead of a written one.
 
So, are colleges and universities shifting away from the streamlined Common Application? Education experts agree that the Common App has become too generic, and does not give admissions offices a sincere view of applicants.
 
What do you think, collegiettes™? Would you prefer a 25-word essay or a generic one generated by the Common App?

Lauryn is a senior at Northeastern University majoring in journalism. She has written for Boston.com as well as the HC branch at Northeastern. Lauryn is also a teaching assistant for International Affairs students at Northeastern. In May and June of 2011, she embarked on a reporting trip to the Middle East, where she mastered the art of "man on the street" reporting and gained a new appreciation for falafel. In her spare time, Lauryn enjoys writing, walking around Boston aimlessly, traveling and a unhealthy obsession with her Kindle. She loves eating, French bulldogs and Anderson Cooper. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in foreign correspondence or magazine journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @laurynpaiva.
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