The days of typing long, college submissions and scholarship application essays highlighting a student’s accomplishments may soon be coming to an end with the advent of video submissions.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, creators of the Generation Texas initiative, recently held the first-ever GenTX video contest offering students an opportunity to win a $1,500 scholarship to pursue college or career opportunities after high school.

“Under the GenTX umbrella, we needed to help get the word out about how kids and parents can prepare and get ready for college,” said Jerel Booker, THECB senior director of educator quality and special programs. “We thought we would have the kids create a video in hopes it becomes viral and offer a scholarship to the kids that offer a good message.”

In honor of GenTX Week, which was Nov. 18-22, all Texas high school students in ninth through 12th grades were invited to participate by creating a short video for the Take the Challenge! scholarship contest. The videos were uploaded to YouTube, and the five submissions receiving the most hits will be featured on the GenTX website. A winner will be chosen Friday by THECB directors.

In their videos, students were required to show how they have enrolled in rigorous academic plans to prepare for post-secondary careers, feature how parents and family helped them prepare, and detail what they are doing now to apply for college or a career.

GenTX is a program recognized by communities across Texas to help students prepare for college and post high school careers.

It was created to support a college culture, talk about post-secondary options and open more avenues for high school graduates to access college.

Booker said the board’s goal was to keep the costs as low as possible. Cellphone and camera submissions were accepted.

“Kids are so much more resourceful these days,” Booker said. “We don’t want this to be costly.”

Amy McDaniel, chief operating officer of the Lampasas County Higher Education Center, said GenTX officials asked the center for help promoting the contest.

“I think the contest appeals to the new generation of technology-oriented kids and helps them apply their creativity,” said McDaniel, noting she has seen an increase in supplemental videos from students applying for college. “The videos can be very effective, and it’s a great way to help the students stand out.”

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