Tips: Creating A Good College Application Video
FIRST THINGS FIRST: VIDEO ESSAYS ARE STILL OPTIONAL. So if you don’t like the idea of being filmed, you don’t have to do it. If you DO like the idea, you’ll have less competition than you do with your written essay. (An increasing number of schools, like Tufts University, now let students send video essays instead of written ones.) And while every school – and every admissions officer – is different, there are some general guidelines to consider when creating your video, including:
Focus on content, not cinematography.
Unless you’re applying to film school, you’re not being judged on anything but what (not how!) is being filmed. So don’t splurge for a professional videographer or editor. As Andrew Flagel, Dean of Admissions and Associate Vice President of Enrollment Development at George Mason University, put it: “Production value of the videos is not considered.”
Show your enthusiasm.
You don’t need to be screaming into a megaphone or dressed like the school mascot to demonstrate how serious you are about attending the school. But a video that lacks energy and creativity won’t hold anyone’s interest, let alone increase your chances of being accepted into the college or university.
Go light on the ego.
Yes, you want the video to tell something about you, but that doesn’t mean you have to be in every frame. In fact, there’s always a risk (especially if you’ve got prom king or queen good looks) that you’ll come across as vain. Experienced admissions officials can smell manipulation a mile away. Show off your talents, personality and uniqueness – not your beauty pageant sash.
Stick to the recommended length.
Many colleges will limit videos to one or two minutes. Even if there’s no limit (other than what YouTube imposes), you’ll want to seriously weigh the value in sending a 10-minute piece.
Watch other videos.
Some schools will post application videos online. George Mason University uses http://videos.masonmetro.com to allow students to explain why they’re a good match for the school. You’ll be able to gauge your competition’s level of creativity and possibly avoid the faux pas of submitting something that’s been done to death (like rapping or cue cards).
Post with private settings.
If you decide to post your video on YouTube and send the school a link choose strict privacy settings. You might think your video is great today but you could spend the next 10 years wishing no one had seen it.
The college application process is already filled with pressure and competition. If creating a video just seems to increase your anxiety to an unhealthy level don’t do it! But if the idea of using another medium feels like your big opportunity to show a college the real you your enthusiasm is sure to shine through!
If you want to view an example of an admissions video that managed to not only inform but also entertain check out Andrew Bergamo’s short film (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQ0vEINdBac ) that got him into Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University. It’s a parody exposé that “uncovers evidence” on the real Andrew Bergamo.