6 Tips For Recording a College Application Video Essay

Thursday, November 19, 2015

College Application VideoHere’s How to Record an Outstanding College Application Essay Video

Many colleges are known for getting creative with their essay prompts, sometimes asking weird and wacky questions to encourage students to dig for thoughtful, creative responses. Another way some colleges are shaking up the college admissions process is with college application essay videos.

Goucher College’s video college application is one of the most well known, but other colleges, like George Mason University and Tufts University, have previously experimented with video essays on their applications. Students applying to Babson have the option to address their supplemental essay prompt with either an essay or a one-minute video. As colleges get more creative with their supplements and look for more ways to customize their applications, video is sure to become a more prevalent element, especially if the new Coalition Application locker turns out at as planned.

A video isn’t exactly an essay, however, and this can leave students feeling uncertain about to how approach recoding a college application essay video. Here are some tips to help students put together the best application video possible.

Choose a quiet space with an appropriate background.

While your video isn’t expected to be professional quality, you should be mindful of where exactly you’re recording and the overall look of the video. Find a quiet space with minimal background noise – after all the admissions officers need to hear what you’re saying – and make sure the backdrop is appropriate. You don’t want to tell a college how much you want to attend with inappropriate posters hanging in the background or another college’s pennant.

Get Creative.

Some colleges will want a simple recorded response to the prompt, in which keeping your location and background in mind is extremely important. Other schools that use video applications, like Goucher College, encourage students to get creative with their videos. Maybe you address the prompt with multiple shots at different locations that are important to you. Maybe you create a music video. It’s important to follow the directions given, but don’t be afraid to get creative if given the opportunity!

Look your best.

It’s important to be yourself in these college application videos, but be the cleaned-up version of yourself. Don’t record your video in your pajamas. Think of this as an informal interview – you still want to make a good first impression, right? Wear a top that’s clean and appropriate. It’s not necessary to wear a blazer or a tie, but if that’s what you normally wear then go for it! You want to be comfortable but also put together.

Practice your response, but don’t read it.

Ever notice how boring a presentation can be when someone is just reading information from a paper or note cards? The same applies to college application videos. It’s important to think about your response, practice it, and make sure you hit all the points you want to make, but reading your response from cards off-screen, or even just regurgitating your memorized script, is distracting and come off as bland or stale.

Address the prompt.

Sometimes students get so caught up in the creative process of recoding a college video essay they forget to actually answer the questions the school is asking. A great quality video with fun effects isn’t going to get you in if you don’t address the prompt. Make sure no matter how you put the video together that you’re addressing the prompt using specific details, information about yourself that can’t be found anywhere else in the application, and information that’s tailored to the school you’re applying to. Treat this as you would any other supplemental essay. Be specific and tailor your responses.

Let your personality shine through.

Remember, this is another way for the admissions office to get to know you! Be yourself and let them get a sense of who you are, what your interests are, and why you think you’re a good fit for the institution. Recording a video can be intimidating and cause some students to hold back, but try to relax. Practice so you’re comfortable and able to be yourself. As is with any regular college application essay, don’t try to make yourself the applicant you think the college wants. Be the best version of yourself and help the admissions committee learn more about you.

Whether you’re writing a standard supplemental essay, or recording a college application essay video, it’s important to pay attention to details, make sure you’re answering the prompts, and let the college get to know you and why you’re a good fit.


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