Have you made up your mind about the college you want to attend yet? If so, the next step is to start the application process. In this stage, you may be required to record an introductory video to tell the admissions committee a little about yourself.
Most colleges are now veering from traditional written essays to video essays as part of the application process. Therefore, you need to master the art of writing an effective video essay that you’ll use to record your college application video.
In this blog post, we’ll show you how to write a winning video essay for college applications to take you a step closer to admission.
What is a video essay?
A video essay is a 2-5 minute video recording that allows students to showcase their personality and convince the admission committee to accept them into the college. It’s an innovative way for prospective students to show their creativity and communication skills beyond the traditional written application.
Since they are visual, video essays allow candidates to express themselves and make a lasting impression. They can cover a wide range of topics, such as the student’s background, values, interests, and experiences.
Compelling video essays allow college applicants to differentiate themselves from the competition and increase their chances of securing a place at their dream institution.
What makes a good video essay?
A good video essay should reflect your authentic voice, personal experiences, and future aspirations. It should showcase your ability to express your ideas clearly while also providing a glimpse into your character and personality. Creativity, storytelling, and attention to detail are all essential components, as they paint a vivid picture of who you are.
How long should my video essay be?
The ideal length of a video essay depends on the specific requirements of the college. Most colleges will require you to keep it 2-3 minutes long. However, it’s important to pay close attention to the guidelines of the college you’re applying to. And remember, quality is key over quantity.
9-step guide to writing a video essay for college applications
A video essay is your chance to make a lasting impression as to why you are a good fit for the college. So, it’s important to know how to craft the perfect one.
What should be included in a college application video?
A college application essay and personal statement should focus on your background, experiences, and passions. Consider your personal story and how it sets you apart. Also, identify what aspects about you would contribute to the college's community and your long-term goals after finishing your studies at the college.
Here’s how you can write a video essay in nine steps, along with useful examples.
Step #1 - Select a suitable topic
Once you’ve understood the instructions, choose a specific topic you’ll be addressing in the video. Though some colleges will give you a topic to talk about, most of them will give you the freedom to select your essay topic of interest.
Think about what will best represent who you are as an individual and what makes you want to attend this particular college.
Your topic should be interesting, original, and unique. After all, admissions officers will see hundreds of other video applications, so yours needs to stand out!
Step #2 - Outline your talking points
Now that you know what topic(s) you’ll address in your video essay, create an outline of your talking points. This is an organized list of the main points you’ll cover in your video essay.
Your video essay should be well-organized and follow a clear and logical structure.
This will help you create a strong narrative that carries the viewer from beginning to end.
Remember to include any anecdotes or story highlights that may help you illustrate a point. An effective outline will help keep your thoughts organized when writing your video essay.
Step #3 - Open with a strong hook
The fun part is here – it's time to write down your video essay for college application. This is where all those talking points you wrote in the outline come into play.
The opening moments of your video essay can make or break your impression. To engage your audience from the start, make sure you open with a captivating hook that will catch the viewer's curiosity.
This could be a compelling question, an interesting anecdote, or a short personal story. Remember, you only have a few seconds to grab the attention of the busy admission committee - so make them count!
Example of an opening hook:
“One unforgettable winter in my seventh grade, my mother's battle with alcoholism reached a shocking peak when she attempted to take her life. As I visited her in the psychiatric ward, I couldn't help but battle with emotions and questions about her heart-wrenching decision. The twists and turns of these events profoundly influenced both my personal and professional growth. It ultimately led me to pursue a career in psychology.”
Step #4 - Introduce yourself
Once you've hooked your viewers, give a brief and genuine introduction of who you are. Mention your name, where you come from, your educational background, and your interests.
This is your chance to establish a memorable connection with the viewers, so let your authentic self shine.
Step #5 - Identify the course you’d like to study
Next, explain the major or program you want to pursue at college and elaborate on why it appeals to you. Also, identify what motivated you to pursue that particular course. This shows the college that you have a clear educational vision and are passionate about your chosen field.
Step #6 - Explain your reasons for joining college
Now that the committee knows about you and your goals tell them why their institution is the best fit for you. Highlight specific features that attracted you to their program, whether it’s the extracurricular opportunities, prestigious faculty members, or campus culture.
You could also mention alumni success stories or the college's unique facilities that make you want to study there.
“My desire to join the University of Manchester started when I participated in their graduate school visitation program right after high school. During the program, I learned more about the Department of Psychology and met the wonderful lecturers. I also interacted with some alumni who applauded my career choice. The experience made me see how my interests aligned with those of this particular school.”
Step #7 - Explain the skills and values you bring
Next, sell yourself by emphasizing your unique qualities and values that would positively impact the college community. For instance, you can talk about your passion for learning, your strong work ethic, your ability to collaborate with others, or your dedication to making a difference in the college.
You can also mention your skills in extracurricular activities like sports or arts that you’ll use to impact the college culture.
“Throughout high school, I’ve always been a highly disciplined student with the desire to excel in everything I do. I also have a collaborative spirit and a strong will to help my fellow students succeed. My effective communication and interpersonal skills will help me to collaborate with fellow students to make the college highly accommodative for all students.”
Step #8 - Explain what you want to achieve in the end
Lastly, go beyond the degree and paint a picture of your long-term goals. Explain what you want to achieve after college and the impact you hope to make on the world.
Also, let the admission committee understand how your education will empower your personal and professional growth and how your experiences at college will propel you toward those dreams.
“At the end of my learning period at the college, I hope to participate in community-based programs to provide viable solutions for issues affecting mental health. Will also use my knowledge and skills to build a mental health facility to encourage mental wellness and inspire young professionals who would like to take the same career path.”
Step #9 - Review and polish
Once you’ve finished writing the video essay, it's important to spend time reviewing and editing your work. Correct poor sentence structures and double-check to ensure you’ve included all the essential information according to the essay prompt.
You can also share it with a trusted friend or family member to get valuable feedback and suggestions for improvement.
Unlike a written essay, a video essay provides an opportunity to show your personality and let the admissions committee know who you are. It’s an opportunity to use your individual story to pique their interests.
Writing a winning video essay for a college application requires confidence and enthusiasm. With some preparation and creativity, you can craft an interesting essay that sets you apart from other applicants for college acceptance.
Half your work is done when you have a solid video essay script. Writers Per Hour’s team of expert writers can help you write a 100% original college application video essay script that presents your candidature, showcases your personality, and demonstrates your enthusiasm to join the university.
Last edit at May 20 2023