The number of college applications in the US grew by 21.3% between the 2019–2020 and 2021-2022 school years. That means more and more aspiring college students are sitting down in front of their computers, and writing application essays. Naturally, this is a stressful time. It can feel that an application essay can make or break to get into your dream school.
What’s more, with so many students submitting these essays every year, it can be hard to believe you have a chance to stand out. That’s why video essays have grown increasingly popular among college applicants. Not only are they fun to make, but they’re an effective way to pitch yourself to a college admissions board. An excellently edited video essay is sure to impress.
The goal of any video essay is to grab the viewers’ attention. If you engage them early, they’re more likely to stay with you to the end of the video and really focus on what you have to say. That’s why you have to start with a hook, something that will demand your viewers' attention.
The exact nature of this hook is up to you. However, it should reflect your personality and your skills as a communicator. Don’t be afraid to make it fun and make someone laugh if that’s how you like to engage with others. Just make sure it’s good.
During your video essay, you’re going to need to be concise and ready to deliver your lines without stumbling. The best way to achieve this is to use a script. A script will keep you focused and on task while recording. You won’t have to memorize a thing. It’s only a matter of writing every you need to say and working to deliver it naturally.
However, reading off cue cards or a regular piece of paper is going to be obvious, and will be detrimental to your overall essay. Consider using a teleprompter to read your script discreetly. Plus, you’ll free up your hands to focus on your body language and explain why you should be admitted to your dream school.
Always ensure that your college video essay takes place in a clean and quiet environment. No college admissions board will expect you to be totally professional with your recording. However, they will expect you to be conscious of your environment and the overall look and feel of your video. Admissions will not look kindly on a video recorded on your bed with a TV blaring in the background.
Additionally, don’t forget to ensure your setting is well-lit. Avoid recording in front of any windows as the backlight will make you appear dark on camera. Rather, turn around and face the window when possible. You always want to face natural light when possible
You will often receive a prompt for your essay, and you should always follow it as faithfully as possible. However, this is also an opportunity to show your creative side. After all, this is more than just a written essay - it’s a video. It takes time and effort to produce.
Consider shooting your essay video at multiple angles or locations.
Part of a college video essay is about being yourself, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be well-dressed. That doesn’t mean you need a three-piece suit either. Rather, go for the middle ground. Wear a clean and appropriate top, and no graphic t-shirts if you can help it.
And whatever you do, don’t record the video in your pajamas. You want to be comfortable, but there’s such a thing as too much.
The point of a video essay is to let your personality shine through while you’re answering the prompt from the admission board. However, that isn’t going to happen if you read information from a notecard or piece of paper. You have to apply yourself - be emotive and really let the admissions officer know who you are with your body language and inflection. A script is certainly still important, but you still need to be yourself.
Practice your response several times either in a mirror, in a series of practice videos, or even in front of your loved ones. This will give you a feel for what you’re looking for in your video, and the practice will help you achieve it. Regardless of how you do it, be prepared to give a response - not read a response.
Possibly the best piece of advice we can give you is to be yourself. The admissions board is looking to get to know you as a person. Give them a good impression of who you are, why you are applying to their school, and why you think you’d be a good fit. Just don’t force it. A flat and bland video produced with the intent of being professional will likely put your audience off.
Just relax and deliver the lines in the way that comes most naturally to you.
Your college application is a pivotal and stressful period of your life. That makes it easy to feel overwhelmed. And that means it can be even harder to deliver your video essay with confidence. Thankfully, there are tools that take the stress out of recording.
Teleprompter is a quick-to-setup teleprompter application that you can run on any iOS device, making it incredibly convenient for recording professional video resumes to land your dream job.
Check out Teleprompter today on the app store.