Many high school students use Twitter and other social networking sites, procrastinating writing the dreaded college admissions and scholarship essays. Now, however, some administrators have started testing students' social media skills, and a lot can ride on those 140 characters.
USA Today reported that the University of Iowa is asking prospective students applying to their Tippie MBA program to submit their best tweet in place of a second essay. The winning tweet will receive more than $37,000 — a scholarship for a year's tuition at the school.
Applicants' tweets should answer the prompt — "What makes you an exceptional Tippie MBA candidate and full-time MBA hire? Creativity encouraged!" — in 140 characters or less.
"Social media has been shown to be a powerful tool for business communication, so it makes sense that our applicants demonstrate an ability to use it," Colleen Downie, senior assistant dean of the Tippie School of Management, said in a news release. "This is a way for prospective students to show us that they embrace innovation and are comfortable using the kind of media and technology driving so many changes in business."
Kinzie Dekkenga said she was excited to apply for the Twitter scholarship because she wanted to avoid the arduous 800-word essay. However, it took her five days to compose her tweet.
"It turns out … having to simplify your thoughts down was much harder than I thought," Dekkenga told USA Today. "I sat on the Twitter page and just kept typing things, but I was always 100 or 200 characters over."
USA Today also points out Twitter-based scholarships offered by Kentucky Fried Chicken, Scholarship.com and CollegeScholarships.org.
Twitter has been used for stranger things than college admissions: A professor who integrated Twitter into her French lessons was granted honorary knighthood from the French government for "advancing the French language."