Generation Z Leaves Its Mark on the College Application Process

Generation Z Leaves Its Mark on the College Application Process

(Image: Debenport)

As a near-Luddite, I was a little skeptical about the claims of ZeeMee, a new app students can use in college applications that visually showcases their skills and interests.

But I applied to college 100 years ago; even my kids applied to college in the Dark Ages, apparently. Neither of them sent links to their YouTube videos or DVDs of themselves as part of their college applications.

But according to Melissa Calder, associate director of Media and Communications at Saint Joseph’s University, in a video–what else?–on the ZeeMee website, students have been sending digital media to the school’s admissions counselors for some time now, to make their college applications stand out. The ZeeMee platform is now the place where this media can be accessed in an organized way.

Bringing College Applications to Life

“Our mission is to bring students’ stories to life,” said ZeeMee co-founders Juan Jaysingh and Adam Metcalf in an e-mail interview, “and connect them with life-changing opportunities.”

ZeeMee has taken off. The platform is now working with more than 200 colleges around the world, including Morehouse, Spelman, Binghamton University (SUNY), and Washington University in St. Louis.

I was astounded to learn from Jaysingh and Metcalf that Generation Z shares more than 1 billion photos and videos on Snapchat daily! So it does make sense that such a visually oriented cohort would find it natural to express themselves in a more multidimensional format in their college application.

Still, I was concerned that the visual nature of the platform could put low-income students at a disadvantage, or shortchange students who are unattractive or awkward, or even just cerebral.

Just Be Yourself

But Jaysingh and Metcalf say the platform allows students to be themselves and to show their own unique passions and interests.

“One of the reasons that high school counselors love ZeeMee is because it is a powerful tool for self-reflection,” the co-founders say. They even provided an example of a student’s ZeeMee page that shows a young black man walking down a train track, his beautifully sculpted paper origami roses, and a short section on his poetry writing.

The ZeeMee co-founders say that its mission is to help all students, including those in underresourced communities, “actualize their self-worth and potential.”

Wil Taylor, a graduate of Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C., has a ZeeMee page. “Having a ZeeMee gives [colleges] a broader perspective on who I am,” Taylor says. “I’m looking forward to using it to get the edge for not just college, but competitive scholarships, internships, study abroad opportunities, and jobs.”

For more about ZeeMee, visit its website.