Teen Sings His Way Off University of Michigan Wait List

Lawrence Yong

A California high school senior who was wait-listed to attend the University of Michigan may have sung himself off the waiting list and into the freshmen class.

Lawrence Yong, a high school senior at Granada Hills Charter High School in Los Angeles, was placed on the University of Michigan's waiting list and knew he needed to do something to stand out from thousands of other students jockeying for the relatively few available spots.

"I had already written an essay for my application and I thought that maybe it wasn't enough to convey to the university who I was. I thought the video was a way to put a face to the application," he said.

The self-described "shy" teen turned to his strengths, a cappella singing, revamped the lyrics to one of his favorite songs, the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," and posted the video on YouTube.

"I thought it was also an appropriate song," Yong said. "Michael Jackson is asking this girl to give him one more chance and I was kind of asking the university to give me a chance as well."

In the video, called, " Michigan, give me one more chance," Yong sings his heart out to the admission officers and all Wolverines: "Oh Michigan, give me one more chance, to show you that I love you. Won't you please let me into your school. Oh how I dream to be a Wolverine, Michigan you're unlike anything that I've seen."

Since Yong first posted the video in April, it has amassed 55,000 views - more than he ever imagined - and went viral online and on campus. Yong says he's received an "enormous amount of positive feedback" from classmates, friends, teachers and an audience online. But even better than all that was the news he received June 6: an email admitting him into the incoming class from the waiting list.

"I got it when I had just woken up, so I was groggy and, but, after that I was really ecstatic and completely shocked," he said.

The odds for getting into the university from the waiting list are small. Approximately 0.3 percent of students who were offered a spot on the waiting list went on to be accepted last year, according to AnnArbor.com, which first reported on Yong's story.

So was it the video that pushed Yong to the top of the list? Admissions officers reportedly saw the video and told AnnArbor.com that the school takes "demonstrated interest into account" when selecting students for admission from the waiting list.

Yong couldn't be more excited to start and hopes to declare his major in his first year … and join an a cappella group, of course.

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