Bucknell University invites student prospects to upload a video

Bucknell University has found another way to evaluate prospective students for admission: A video interview.

The Lewisburg-based university recently sent out emails to prospects inviting them to upload a video, using “LikeLive,” a Los Angeles-based company.

“After you register, LikeLive will guide you through the process for creating and uploading a video interview,” wrote Chrissy Findlay, assistant dean of admissions at Bucknell.

“You'll be asked to respond to questions that will help us get to know you better. Only our admissions team and the technical staff at LikeLive will be able to view the video; it will not be made public.”

Findlay advised applicants that they can practice but only record one video.

Bucknell declined to discuss the venture, saying it is too new at this point to evaluate. The university’s website for the program is http://bucknell.likelive.com

Bill Barnett, CEO of LikeLive, said 60 colleges and universities have signed on to the program over the last year and a half.

The only other local school is Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business. One of Rutgers University’s graduate admissions programs also is looking at it, Barnett said.

The idea of uploaded video interviews “isn’t unprecedented, but also not entirely widespread,” said David Hawkins, director of public policy and research at the National Association of College Admission Counseling.

“It's similar to the recommendation online portals that many colleges use, so I've seen it as part of a continuing trend toward automation in the admission process,” Hawkins said in an email. “The biggest limitation for many colleges that want to pursue interviews, though, remains finding the time to view/conduct interviews with all of the applicants they get.”

Barnett said he started the company, which has been bought by the Educational Testing Service, after going through the admissions process with his two daughters.

“It was difficult logistically and financially to get around to all of these schools,” he said.

“I thought we’ve got to level the playing field for students who can’t get to schools to interview.”

Cornell, Brandeis and Hamilton are among other schools that use the program, he said.

LikeLive’s web site is http://college.likeLive.com

Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or ssnyder@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @ssnyderinq