When high school senior Sarah Allen checked her email after lacrosse practice on Thursday, she saw an email from USC with the subject line: "A message from dean Erica Muhl."
Puzzled, the Overland Park, Kan., native opened the email and clicked on the link, which took her to a video message from hip-hopper/entrepreneur Dr. Dre (aka Andre Young) and his longtime associate, music mega-producer Jimmy Iovine.
“The Trojan family is excited to offer you a spot in the class of 2018,” Young said as he sat in a music studio.
“We think you’re going to do great here,” Iovine added.
“I was so excited,” said Allen, who applied to 11 colleges. “I couldn’t believe it.”
The message might be the most star-studded way a college has told a student they’re in. Young has won six Grammys and Iovine has produced albums by Bruce Springsteen and U2, but other campuses have used increasingly over-the-top messages to inform high schoolers they’ve been accepted. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology sends sent out a tube filled with a poster and confetti to its early acceptees, and schools including the University of Georgia and Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania send out links to congratulatory videos.
The degree program was started with a $70 million gift from Young and Iovine and is now known as the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation.
School officials declined to say how many students were accepted or applied.
The videos, recorded in a Santa Monica studio, were the idea of Muhl, the executive director of the program.
As part of the application process, each student submitted a short video illustrating an idea for an original product, service or system. Allen included a film of an app she designed that combines social media and a calendar.
She hopes to become an Internet entrepreneur and said USC had been her first choice all along.
"I'm going to sign whatever I need to so I can go," she said.