Video Applications Encourage Students to Tell Their Stories
Posted: March 2, 2010 at 11:05 am, Last Updated: March 2, 2010 at 11:09 am
By Catherine Ferraro
Thinking about applying to college? Get your guitar or dancing shoes ready. At George Mason University, it’s show time.
Mason is one of the first universities in the nation to encourage potential students to submit videos about themselves — in addition to or in lieu of an essay — as part of the application process.
With the explosion of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, the way information is shared has changed. For Mason admission officials, it only made sense to extend this growing phenomenon to the application process.
“We began thinking about video essays several years ago because the massive growth in applications to Mason increased the importance of giving students a way to personalize their applications,” says Andrew Flagel, dean of Admissions.
“Since interviews can be an expensive and time-consuming process, using technology to incorporate videos offers a novel approach as competition for admission increases rapidly. The video essays allow students to convey their energy, enthusiasm and creativity directly to the admissions committee.”
In developing their videos, students have no constraints other than to adhere to YouTube guidelines. So far, the Office of Admissions has received more than 75 videos accompanying applications. In one, a student sings original songs while playing a ukulele; in another, a student creates a scrapbook; and in yet another, a student retells the classic “Cat in the Hat” story. Videos have been submitted from students with a wide variety of interests, including theater, global affairs and business.
Since last year, students have been submitting videos for acceptance into Mason Ambassadors, an Admissions Office program in which Mason students share their pride in the institution by hosting prospective students, participating in admissions events and elite university functions and guiding campus tours.
Impressed by the strength of the candidates and the originality of the videos, Flagel and other admissions officials decided to offer the video application option to high school seniors vying for a spot in the incoming class of 2010.
Most of the videos focus on similar themes, such as a student’s involvement in the community, travel experiences and entrepreneurial spirit.
The videos are evaluated by the same admissions team that reads the applications. Academics are still central in all admissions decisions. Flagel also notes that the production value of the videos is not considered. Instead, the admissions counselors are interested in what motivates and excites a student about attending Mason.
According to Flagel, the videos haven’t radically changed any admissions decisions, but they have helped convey why certain students would be an asset to the university.
A unique aspect of the video application process is that they are posted, with the student’s permission, on theMason Metro web site and can be viewed and commented upon by anyone. In fact, the admissions team has called attention to some of the best videos to let potential students know the option is available.
“The advantage of having the videos available for potential and current Mason students is that they are able to see the diversity and talent that exists at the university,” says Flagel. “I hope we will eventually receive thousands of videos from students who have great things to say about Mason.”
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|Motto||Freedom and Learning|
|Established||October 1, 1949:5|
|Endowment||$73 million (June 2016)|
|Provost||S. David Wu|
|2,609 total (1,260 full-time; 1,349 part-time)|
|2,497 total (763 administrative faculty; 1,734 classified staff)|
|Location||Arlington, VA, US; Fairfax, VA, US; Front Royal, VA, US; Prince William, VA, US; Songdo, South Korea|
Coordinates: 38°49′51″N77°18′27″W / 38.8308°N 77.3075°W / 38.8308; -77.3075
|Campus||Suburban, 854 acres (3.46 km2) total across 4 campuses|
677 acres (2.74 km2) Fairfax Campus
|Colors||Green and Gold|
|NCAA Division I – A-10|
George Mason University (Mason) is the largest public research university in the U.S. state of Virginia. The university was founded as a branch of the University of Virginia in 1949 and became an independent institution in 1972.:1 Four campuses are located in Virginia, with another in Songdo, South Korea inside the Incheon Free Economic Zone. Three of the four campuses within Virginia are within the Northern Virginia section of the Piedmont, and one is in the Blue Ridge Mountains region. On-campus housing options exist at all campus locations except Arlington. The university recognizes 500 student groups as well as 41 fraternities and sororities. Today, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education R1 research institution is recognized for its programs in economics, law, creative writing, computer science, and business.
Mason faculty have twice won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.
Timeline from center to college then university
|Year||Institution Name||Institution Location||Institution Executive|
|1949||Northern Virginia University Center of the University of Virginia||Arlington||Director John Norville Gibson Finley|
|1956||University College, the Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia||Arlington, Bailey's Crossroads||Director John Norville Gibson Finley|
|1959||George Mason College of the University of Virginia||Arlington, Bailey's Crossroads||Director John Norville Gibson Finley|
|1964||George Mason College of the University of Virginia||Arlington, Bailey's Crossroads||Director Robert Reid|
|1966||George Mason College of the University of Virginia||Fairfax||Chancellor Lorin A. Thompson|
|1972||George Mason University||Fairfax||President Lorin A. Thompson|
|1973||George Mason University||Fairfax||President Vergil H. Dykstra|
|1977||George Mason University||Fairfax||President Robert C. Krug|
|1979||George Mason University||Fairfax||President George W. Johnson|
|1979||George Mason University||Fairfax, Arlington||President George W. Johnson|
|1996||George Mason University||Fairfax, Arlington||President Alan G. Merten|
|1997||George Mason University||Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William||President Alan G. Merten|
|2005||George Mason University||Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Ras al Khayma||President Alan G. Merten|
|2009||George Mason University||Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William||President Alan G. Merten|
|2011||George Mason University||Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Front Royal||President Alan G. Merten|
|2012||George Mason University||Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Front Royal||President Ángel Cabrera|
|2012||George Mason University||Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, Front Royal, Songdo||President Ángel Cabrera|
University of Virginia (1949–1972)
The University of Virginia in Charlottesville created an extension center to serve Northern Virginia. "… the University Center opened, on October 1, 1949..." The extension center offered both for credit and non-credit informal classes in the evenings in the Vocational Building of the Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, at schools in Alexandria, Fairfax, and Prince William, at federal buildings, at churches, at the Virginia Theological Seminary, and at Marine Corps Base Quantico, and even in a few private homes.:5 The first for credit classes offered were: "Government in the Far East, Introduction to International Politics, English Composition, Principles of Economics, Mathematical Analysis, Introduction to Mathematical Statistics, and Principles of Lip Reading." By the end of 1952, enrollment increased to 1,192 students from 665 students the previous year.
A resolution of the Virginia General Assembly in January 1956 changed the extension center into University College, the Northern Virginia branch of the University of Virginia. John Norville Gibson Finley served as director. Seventeen freshmen students attended classes at University College in a small renovated elementary school building in Bailey's Crossroads starting in September 1957. In 1958 University College became George Mason College.
The City of Fairfax purchased and donated 150 acres (0.61 km2) of land just south of the city limits to the University of Virginia for the college's new site, which is now referred to as the Fairfax Campus. In 1959, the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia selected a permanent name for the college: George Mason College of the University of Virginia. The Fairfax campus construction planning that began in early 1960 showed visible results when the development of the first 40 acres (160,000 m2) of Fairfax Campus began in 1962. In the Fall of 1964 the new campus welcomed 356 students.
During the 1966 Session of the Virginia General Assembly, Alexandria delegate James M. Thomson, with the backing of the University of Virginia, introduced a bill in the General Assembly to make George Mason College a four-year institution under the University of Virginia's direction. The measure, known as H 33, passed the Assembly easily and was approved on March 1, 1966 making George Mason College a degree-granting institution. During that same year, the local jurisdictions of Fairfax County, Arlington County, and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church agreed to appropriate $3 million to purchase land adjacent to Mason to provide for a 600-acre (2.4 km2) Fairfax Campus with the intention that the institution would expand into a regional university of major proportions, including the granting of graduate degrees.
George Mason University (1972–present)
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(May 2017)
On Friday, April 7, 1972, a contingent from George Mason College, led by Chancellor Lorin A. Thompson, met with Virginia Governor A. Linwood Holton at Richmond. They were there to participate in the governor's signing into law Virginia General Assembly Bill H 210 separating George Mason College from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville and renaming it George Mason University. In 1978, George W. Johnson was appointed to serve as the fourth president. Under his eighteen-year tenure, the university expanded both its physical size and program offerings at a tremendous rate. Shortly before Johnson's inauguration in April 1979, Mason acquired the School of Law and the new Arlington Campus. The university also became a doctoral institution. Toward the end of Johnson's term, Mason would be deep in planning for a third campus in Prince William County at Manassas. Major campus facilities, such as Student Union Building II, EagleBank Arena, Center for the Arts, and the Johnson Learning Center, were all constructed over the course of Johnson's eighteen years as University President. Enrollment once again more than doubled from 10,767 during the fall of 1978 to 24,368 in the spring of 1996.
Dr. Alan G. Merten was appointed president in 1996. He believed that the university's location made it responsible for both contributing to and drawing from its surrounding communities—local, national, and global. George Mason was becoming recognized and acclaimed in all of these spheres. During Merten's tenure, the university hosted the World Congress of Information Technology in 1998, celebrated a second Nobel Memorial Prize-winning faculty member in 2002, and cheered the Men's Basketball team in their NCAAFinal Four appearance in 2006. Enrollment increased from just over 24,000 students in 1996 to approximately 33,000 during the spring semester of 2012, making Mason Virginia's largest public university and gained prominence at the national level.
Dr. Ángel Cabrera officially took office on July 1, 2012. Both Cabrera and the board were well aware that Mason was part of a rapidly changing academia, full of challenges to the viability of higher education. In a resolution on August 17, 2012, the board asked Dr. Cabrera to create a new strategic vision that would help Mason remain relevant and competitive in the future. The drafting of the Vision for Mason, from conception to official outline, created a new mission statement that defines the university.
On March 25, 2013, university president Ángel Cabrera held a press conference to formally announce the university's decision to leave the Colonial Athletic Association to join the Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10). The announcement came just days after the Board of Visitors' approval of the university's Vision document that Dr. Cabrera had overseen. Mason began competition in the A-10 during the 2013–2014 academic year, and Mason's association with the institutions that comprise the A-10 started a new chapter in Mason athletics, academics, and other aspects of university life.The Chronicle of Higher Education listed Mason as one of the "Great Colleges to Work For" from 2010–2014.The Washington Post listed Mason as one of the "Top Workplaces" in 2014. The WorldatWork Alliance for Work-Life Progress awarded Mason the Seal of Distinction in 2015. The AARP listed Mason as one of the Best Employers for Workers Over 50 in 2013.
George Mason University has four campuses in the United States, all within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Three are within the Northern Virginia section of the Piedmont, and one in the Blue Ridge Mountains region. The university has one campus in South Korea, within the Incheon Free Economic Zone of the Songdo region. The university had a campus at Ras al-Khaimah, but that location is now closed. The Blue Ridge campus, just outside Front Royal, is run in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution.
Johnson Center and Center for the Arts
Center for the Arts
The university's Fairfax Campus is situated on 677 acres (1.058 sq mi) of landscaped land with a large pond in a suburban environment in George Mason, Virginia, just south of the City of Fairfax in central Fairfax County. Off-campus amenities are within walking distance and Washington, D.C. is approximately 20 miles (32 km) from campus. Notable buildings include the 320,000-square-foot (30,000 m2) student union building, the Johnson Center; the Center for the Arts, a 2,000-seat concert hall; the 180,000-square-foot (17,000 m2) Long and Kimmy Nguyen Engineering Building; Exploratory Hall for science, new in 2013; an astronomy observatory and telescope; the 88,900-square-foot (8,260 m2) Art and Design Building; the newly expanded Fenwick Library, and will soon reconstruct the academic buildings Robinson A and B; the Krasnow Institute; and three fully appointed gyms and an aquatic center for student use. The stadiums for indoor and outdoor track and field, baseball, softball, tennis, soccer and lacrosse are also on the Fairfax campus, as is Masonvale, a housing community for faculty, staff and graduate students. The smallest building on the campus is the 33-square-foot (3.1 m2) information booth.
This campus is served by the Washington MetroOrange Line at the Vienna, Fairfax, GMU station as well as Metrobus routes. The CUE Bus Green One, Green Two, Gold One, and Gold Two lines all provide service to this campus at 38°50′05″N77°18′25″W / 38.8347°N 77.3070°W / 38.8347; -77.3070 (Cue Bus Stop). This campus is served by the Virginia Railway ExpressManassas Line at the Burke Center station.Fairfax Connector Route 306: GMU–Pentagon provides service to this campus. Mason provides shuttle service between this campus and Vienna, Fairfax, GMU Metro station, the Burke Center VRE station, the Science and Technology Campus, West Campus, and downtown City of Fairfax.
George Mason statue
The bronze statue of George Mason on campus was created by Wendy M. Ross and dedicated on April 12, 1996. The 7½ foot statue shows George Mason presenting his first draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights which was later the basis for the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights. Beside Mason is a model of a writing table that is still in the study of Gunston Hall, Mason's Virginia estate. The books on the table—volumes of Hume, Locke and Rousseau—represent influences in his thought.
Original Building, Founders Hall, Vernon Smith Hall, and Hazel Hall
Vernon Smith Hall
The Arlington Campus is situated on 5.2 acres (21,000 m2; 0.0081 sq mi) in a bustling urban environment on the edge of Arlington, Virginia's Clarendon business district and four miles (6.4 km) from downtown Washington, D.C. The campus was founded in 1979 with the acquisition of a law school; in 1998 Hazel Hall opened to house the Mason School of Law; subsequent development created Founders Hall, home of the School for Policy, Government, and International Affairs, the Center for Regional Analysis, and the graduate-level administrative offices for the School of Business. Vernon Smith Hall houses the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, the Mercatus Center, and the Institute for Humane Studies. The campus also houses the 300-seat Founders Hall Auditorium.
This campus is served by the Washington Metro Orange Line at the Virginia Square-GMU station as well as Metrobus route 38B. The rail station is located one block west of the campus.Arlington Rapid Transit or ART Bus routes 41, 42, and 75 also provide service at this location. The campus offers one electric vehicle charging station, five disabled permit automotive parking locations, three bicycle parking locations, and one Capitol Bikeshare location.
Science and Technology
The Science and Technology campus opened on August 25, 1997 as the Prince William campus in Manassas, Virginia, on 134 acres (0.209 sq mi; 540,000 m2) of land, some still currently undeveloped. More than 4,000 students are enrolled in classes in bioinformatics, biotechnology, information technology, and forensic biosciences educational and research programs. There are undergraduate programs in health, fitness and recreation. There are graduate programs in exercise, fitness, health, geographic information systems, and facility management. Much of the research takes place in the high-security Biomedical Research Laboratory. The 1,123-seat Merchant Hall and the 300-seat Verizon Auditorium in the Hylton Performing Arts Center opened in 2010.
The 110,000-square-foot Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center is operated by the Mason Enterprise Center. The Mason Center for Team and Organizational Learning stylized as EDGE is an experiential education facility open to the public. The Sports Medicine Assessment Research and Testing lab stylized as SMART Lab is located within the Freedom center. The SMART Lab is most known for its concussion research. On April 23, 2015 the campus was renamed to the Science and Technology Campus.
Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation
The campus in Front Royal, Virginia is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the university. Open to students in August 2012 after breaking ground on the project on June 29, 2011, the primary focus of the campus is global conservation training. The academic center includes three teaching laboratories, four classrooms, and 18 offices.Shenandoah National Park is visible from the dining facility's indoor and outdoor seating. Living quarters include 60 double occupancy rooms, an exercise facility, and study space.
Songdo, South Korea
Opened in March 2014, the Songdo campus is in South Korea's Incheon Free Economic Zone, a 42,000-acre (66 sq mi) site designed for 850,000 people. It's 25 miles (40 km) from Seoul and a two-hour flight from China and Japan. Matthew Zingraff is president and provost of Mason Korea.
The Commonwealth of Virginia considers the Songdo campus legally no different than any other Mason campus, "... board of visitors shall have the same powers with respect to operation and governance of its branch campus in Korea as are vested in the board by the Code of Virginia with respect to George Mason University in Virginia ..." Mason Korea students will spend the fourth and fifth semesters (third year) on the Fairfax Campus, with all other course work to be completed in Songdo. Economics and management are the first course offerings and were specifically requested by Korea's Ministry of Education. Future degrees include global affairs, conflict analysis and resolution and computer gaming.
The South Korean government approached Mason in 2008 about opening a Mason campus in Songdo. A $1 million grant in 2009 from the Korean government made it possible for Mason to begin detailed planning. The Korean government will subsidize Mason's Songdo campus for at least the first five years, including free use of buildings and utilities.
Ángel Cabrera is the sixth president of George Mason University. Born in Spain (August 5, 1967), Cabrera earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree in computer and electrical engineering (Ingeniero de Telecomunicación) from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. As a Fulbright Scholar, he attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned a master's of science and Ph.D. in psychology and cognitive science.
The World Economic Forum named Cabrera a Global Leader for Tomorrow in 2001 and a Young Global Leader in 2005. In 2004, he was recognized by BusinessWeek as one of the 25 "Stars of Europe." In 2007, the United Nations asked him to chair the international task force that developed the U.N.'s "Principles for Responsible Management Education." The World Economic Forum appointed Cabrera chair of the Global Agenda Council for promoting entrepreneurship in 2008 and he was named the Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute. In 2010, Cabrera became a topic leader for the Clinton Global Initiative. He has authored numerous academic papers and has received more than 2,000 citations. His latest book, Being Global: How to Think, Act and Lead in a Transformed World, was published by Harvard Business Review in 2012.
- Provost and executive vice president
S. David Wu is the university provost, executive vice president, chief academic officer, and a professor at the Volgenau School of Engineering. After earning a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University in 1987 he taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Mason offers undergraduate, master's, law, and doctoral degrees. The student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and the average class size ranges from 25 to 35 students.
Colleges and schools
Between 2009 and 2013, George Mason saw a 21% increase in the number of applications, has enrolled 4% more new degree-seeking students, and has seen the percentage of undergraduate and graduate applications accepted each decrease by 4%. Law applications accepted increased by 10%. Mason enrolled 33,917 students for Fall 2013, up 956 (+3%) from Fall 2012. Undergraduate students made up 65% (21,990) of the fall enrollment, graduate students 34% (11,399), and law students 2% (528). Undergraduate headcount was 1,337 higher than Fall 2012 (+7%); graduate headcount was 262 lower (−2%); and law student headcount was 119 lower (−18%). Matriculated students come from all 50 states and 122 foreign countries. As of fall 2014, the university had 33,791 students enrolled, including 21,672 undergraduates, 7,022 seeking master's degrees, 2,264 seeking doctoral degrees and 493 seeking law degrees.
The university enrolls 34,904
Science and Technology
Smithsonian‑Mason School of Conservation