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10 Tips for College Admissions Video Essays

August 27, 2013
10 Tips for College Admissions Video Essays

10 Tips for College Admissions Video Essays

Hey – check it out – I’m quoted in the latest issue of Hartford Magazine on how to submit video essays!

Have you heard about video essays? Several colleges, including George Mason and Tufts, give students the option of submitting a video essay.

They don’t replace written essays (sorry), but if a school gives you the option and you’re interested – go for it!

Here are 10 Tips for Creating Video Essays:

  1. Dream it, Do it. The sky’s the limit when it comes to deciding how your video will look. I’ve seen students talk directly to the camera, create time-lapse photography, and even use no dialogue at all. One student spent her entire time eating and another took the admissions committee out on a “dinner date” to get to know him. Bottom line: Be original (and don’t copy).
  2. Take risks, BUT. Be creative, silly, funny, intense, emotional  – you can be anything you imagine in a video essay.  Just remember, like your written essays, you want the final impression to be positive.
  3. Create a plan. Brainstorm, then write an outline or a script so that you know the direction you’re headed and how long it will take.
  4. Answer the prompt. This is critical. Read the entire prompt and make sure you answer the question.  Stick to the time limit.
  5. It’s about content, not quality. If you’re tech savvy show off your skills, but you don’t need high tech equipment – a phone will do. You do need: 1. Enough light to see your face. 2. Clear audio.
  6. Energy up.  Do you know that cameras can seem to sap your energy? (I spent a long time in the TV biz)  So keep your energy level up when you’re recording.
  7. Is it me?  When you’re done, look at your video with an objective eye. Ask yourself, “What will the college think about the person who made this video? Is this me? Have I shown myself in the way I want to be seen?”
  8.  Be appropriate.  While you may have made some funky YouTube videos in your lifetime, remember that this video will be screened by adults at the college you want to attend. Speak, act, and dress in a manner that will make the admissions committee think well of you.
  9. Privacy alert. If you’re using YouTube and you don’t want the world to be able to see your admissions video, use privacy controls.
  10. Sending in a video is optional.  You won’t be penalized if you don’t submit a video essay.

Related links:

Hartford Magazine: You Can Be A Video Star
Washington Post: Video Essays are a Hot Topic

sharon-epstein-college-essay-writing-and-interview-skillsSharon Epstein is owner of First Impressions College Consulting in Redding, Connecticut. A Writers Guild Award-winner and two-time Emmy Award nominee, Sharon teaches students how to master interview skills, write killer resumes, and transform their goals, dreams and experiences into memorable college application essays. She works with students everywhere: in-person, by phone, Skype and email. Visit her website for more info. Connect on Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

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