• Beth & Tim Manners

Students ‘YouTube’ Admissions Decisions

Updated: Sep 19, 2019


The Washington Post: “It’s usually a moment of private drama for students, their families and friends, but Justin Chae planned to share his with the world by filming his reaction to the decisions from the five colleges he’d applied to attend. Then he would post the recordings to YouTube … Social media is filled with content that celebrates (and sells) the college experience, from dorm room tours to ‘day in the life’ videos to productivity tips … Reaction videos from non-celebrities, like Chae, offer a different kind of relatability. Some of the viewers are high school juniors and sophomores who are beginning the long process of applying to college themselves. For that audience, the videos aren’t just good content, they’re glimpses into the future — not the heightened version of their dreams and nightmares but vérité depictions of acceptance and rejection as it happens.”

“Every year, dozens of students post videos like Chae’s to YouTube. In one, a high school senior sits at her computer screen openly weeping as she is rejected on Ivy Day from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Brown. The only college left is her top choice, the University of Pennsylvania. ‘I’m freaking out,’ she says, as her family around her comforts her. She clicks. She screams. She got in. That video, from 2018, has more than 1 million views.”


“Not all popular college reaction videos end with a dream coming true. A disturbingly world-weary high school senior filmed himself opening up all his college decisions at once. The first is Amherst. He looks at the screen, smiles and claps once. ‘Fantastic,’ he says. ‘So I got rejected from Amherst. Next college. Next college!’ The rest of the video is much the same as the student casually leafs from one rejection to the next. (He does get into Carleton College and the University of California at Los Angeles.) Another video shows a student wearing a Northwestern sweatshirt as he checks his application there. As he finds out he’s rejected, he removes the sweatshirt.”

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