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Tweeting for Tuition at U of I

The University of Iowa has a new spin on the age-old application essay.

Iowa’s Henry B. Tippie College of Business is offering free tuition — totaling more than $37,000 — to a full-time Master of Business Administration candidate who can write why he or she would make a good student and future employee — in 140 characters or less.

The “tweet” application is a replacement for the program’s second entrance essay and would apply to tuition starting this fall.

School officials view the challenge like the classic elevator pitch, or a brief description where someone must get to the point quickly and sell himself to a future employer, said Lydia Fine, associate director of recruiting and admissions.

The growth of social media, as well as years of reading unoriginal essays, persuaded the school to offer the challenge, Fine said. The school is looking for inventive and creative submissions.

“We weren’t really getting a good sense of the candidate’s personality,” she said, noting that the short essay will allow applicants to link their portfolio, blog, Facebook or videos.

To be considered, applicants also must submit a résumé, transcripts and GMAT exam score by July 28. Applicants who participate in the “tweet” application will have their application fee waived.

Instead of publicly tweeting responses, however, applicants are asked to email their résumé and “tweet” essay response to That will eliminate the chance of applicants copying other applicants’ responses.

All challenge participants will be considered for admission. People who applied for the full-time MBA program before June 22 are not eligible.

The school hopes to narrow the tweets down to 10, Fine said, then announce a winner on Aug. 4 on Facebook and Twitter.

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