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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

January 19, 2012

Chicago Booth: The Waitlist Movie

In addition to general advice found here on waitlisting, I wanted to comment on Booth's new Waitlist Video. For those waitlisted at Booth, I suggest reading the December 20, 2011 Booth Admissions Insider Post.

While their rival to the North, Kellogg, also is very waitlist applicant friendly, Booth now leads the pack when it comes to allowing those who are waitlisted to enhance their applicant profiles.  In addition to total flexibility about what you can submit ("The content and format of an update is entirely up to you, but ideally the materials you provide should add insight into your qualifications and strength of fit with Chicago Booth beyond what was presented in your original application"), Booth is now giving waitlisted the applicants to make up to a 90 second video:

"A new, optional feature this year is the ability to upload a 90-second video for the Admissions Committee. In the age of digital media, we recognize that video is a common tool of communication, and want to provide any interested candidate with the opportunity to use it. Often candidates would like to introduce themselves via a face-to-face conversation, and a video provides the opportunity to create a personal connection in lieu of visiting campus. In terms of the content  - it is entirely up to you." 

Given that many waitlisted  applicants will have interviewed with alumni and second year students, this will be a great way for admissions to get a new overall impression of you not mitigated by the perspective of someone outside of adcom.  Even for those who were interviewed by adcom, this is a nice way to create a new impression.

This is a totally new applicant component. While UCLA previously had a video essay option, Chicago is the first school to really use this in such an open way. I would not be surprised if they were experimenting with it for waitlisted applicants with the idea of using it as part of the regular application process in the future.  

Given that you can also provide additional written content, I suggest that you provide an integrated self-marketing packet consisting of a waitlist essay (see here for advice on that) and your video.  Thus any points you make in your video can be elaborated on in the essay.

You need to provide a perspective on yourself consistent with what you previously communicated to Booth.  They already like you, so the issue now is closing the deal.   In 90 seconds, you probably only effectively touch on 1-4 topics, so my suggestion would be to think of this in a few different ways, all which could work well. 

Creative:  Can you provide a unique and engaging way to introduce yourself? Make that perfect YouTube Video of yourself! 

Key Selling Points:  Provide 2-4 Key points about yourself that are distinct and will make you standout from other applicants.  These points should be consistent with what you have provided previously, but should be repackaged here for a video-based approach.

Making Up for Weaknesses: If you think something was wrong with your application or with your interview, come up with content that will mitigate that.

Make it as good as you can!  I highly recommend that you put together a full script unless you are the sort of person who can just spontaneously say something polished and engaging with less preparation.  While you need not make something that is a professional movie, it should be a video that actually makes a strong impression.  Coming across as professional, personally engaging, and pleasant is important. You need not come across as an actor or provide a professional quality film, but only submit this video once you are confident that you will be making a good impression.  By all means, show it to your admissions consultant, alumni or current student contacts, or other people whose opinions you value. 

-Adam Markus

I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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