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Tweeting for Scholarships

How to Get Into College with 140 Characters Or Less

Have you heard that Kentucky Fried Chicken awarded $20,000 in scholarship money to a high-school student with the best tweet. With a character limit of 140, applicants were required to write a short statement to explain why they are worthy of such a scholarship. The decision was based on quality, creativity, ability to tell a story on why they should receive the award, and the entrepreneurial drive and desire to pursue a college education.  A Long Beach Polytechnic High School student in California won the $20,000 scholarship. Amanda Russell’s winning tweet was: “Hey Colonel! Your scholarship’s the secret ingredient missing from my recipe for success! Got the grades, drive, just need cash!” The 17-year-old started a Twitter account just to enter the contest and bested more than 2,800 other applicants.

The entries ranged from the lyrical — “If you give a girl a drumstick, she’ll want wings. Give her wings, she’ll get a degree, take flight, and change the world” — to the heartwarming — “1st to go to college in my Family. KFC can be the 1st to change my future. Being the victorious KFCScholar will feel S-O G-DOUBLE-O-D Good!”

I came up with my own tweet  Twitter that I offer free of charge to future applicants: KFC rated lowest Consumer Reports Survey! For years used trans-fat, advertised finger-licking food? Now, “Yum” brand. What’s up with that, yo?

Not to be outdone, the University of Iowa’s MBA program is providing the opportunity for one lucky twitterer to get free tuition. All you have to do is submit your answer to “What makes you an exception Tippie Full-Time MBA candidate and future MBA hire” in proper tweet form to the University of Iowa’s MBA recruiting/admission office. (Who knew there was a proper tweet form.) You also need to include a resume…The Tippie’s will award their full-tuition financial award package, valued at more than $37,000, to the student who best creatively answers in a single Tweet.

Here’s my MBA tweet: Been a Hawkeye all my life. I’ve read The Last of Mohicans ten times. A Tippee education required to work for KFC. What’s up with that, yo?

Tweeting your way to a scholarship might have seemed crazy five years ago, but in recent years with the advent of social media and recognition by college admission boards, a college applicant's social tech-“skills” is becoming more and more important. If you are so inclined, here is the link for more information on Twitter scholarships:

Call me old fashioned but I’ve always believed the writing of an essay was an integral part of college admission decisions. The purpose of the essay is to find out something about the applicant and whether that person will succeed in an academic setting. The essay should demonstrate writing ability, reveal a student’s passion and expose personality. The essay also should  reflect the maturity of the applicant’s thinking and writing. On second thought, I guess a tweet does that given the predominant influence of social media today on a young person’s intellect.

Blog posted by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, July 16, 2011