Philadelphia High Schools Adopt Virtual Technology for College-Bound Students


High schools in the School District of Philadelphia have begun adopting to allow students unable to meet admissions officers in person to communicate with potential colleges through secure online video.

"Many of our kids are exceptional postsecondary candidates with challenging and extraordinary life experiences. At 82 percent free/reduced lunch, our students don't have an equal opportunity to travel and present themselves on campus as is routinely done by affluent applicants," said Eileen Maicon Weissman, principal of Kensington Business School. "Using, admissions officers can also see my students' passion for continued education and likelihood of college success."

Multimedia supplements to college applications have begun surfacing as a tool to deepen the understanding of the individual, including character, achievements, and talents. A student records and uploads quick-format video individually or in the high school and includes a personal passcode in the application. Admissions officers then have the option to view brief clips while evaluating candidates. Michigan State University recently announced that it was embedding the technology in its online applications.

"What our students have to say is just as important as the applicants whose families can afford to visit campus and our applicants can be heard at the admissions officer's convenience, any time day or night," said Richard Jenkins, principal of Roxborough High School.

"Our students really enjoy making their multimedia supplements and are learning valuable tech skills in the process," added Pat Walder, technology teacher leader at the school. "Two guidance counselors serving 1,000 students means our school and its pupils need to be very resourceful in the quest to attend colleges of choice."

CollegeSupplement provides a free service to both students and admissions officers, in which the videos are stored on other companies' servers, such as YouTube. It also sells a premium service to students that provides a higher quality of service and provides video hosting.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.