26 January 2010

Assessment Folks Will Appreciate Yale's High School Musical

My guess is that assessment folks will not be confused, irritated, or dismissive of the new Yale recruitment video, "That's Why I Chose Yale." The almost 17-minute production has drawn criticism from lots of viewers but also some good-humored appreciation.

This is why assessment folks will approve of the video:

1 - Every institution has a responsibility to communicate to prospects what students experience on the campus. It doesn't matter that Yale doesn't need to promote any more applications from prospects. The Yale video incorporates important factoids about the school: there are 17 dance troupes and 36 student publications, there's someone called a freshman counselor, "profs" join students for their study breaks, and on and on.

2 - Few prospective students read a viewbook cover to cover, or even a trifold brochure. The Yale video is engaging—teenagers will watch it to its end. (You may, too.) It doesn't matter that the songs are cheesy and the message is not subtle. The video addresses adolescents' need for self-focus just as cheesy-and-not-subtle video entertainment has for decades. Witness Beach Blanket Bingo, Saved by the Bell, Seventh Heaven, and High School Musical. All have spoken directly to adolescents' desire for wholesome happiness in spite of protestations to the contrary.

3 - The Yale video reflects real Yale students. Authenticity extends to the writing, the production, the performances. As the credits disclose, the talent ranges from Yale Class of '06 to Class of '13. The Dean of Admissions receives an acknowledgement (Class of '75) so the credits roughly reflect the ratio of old adults to young adults appearing in the video. The production does an excellent job of casting average-looking middle-aged people who cannot compete with the really talented and good-looking young people. It never hurts to differentiate between old adults and young adults when your audience is just entering the young adult category.

Perhaps Yale doesn't fret over how to document its recruiting methods but if there's an outstanding link to be included in an accreditation report, this is the one:


© 2010 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (http://www.marybold.com/, http://www.boldproductions.com/, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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