The short video introduction is a relatively new application supplement that is gaining in popularity. This piece of your college application is typically optional, but it can give the school additional insight into who you are as a person and student, rounding out the holistic admissions process.
Read on for details about several schools that offer the option for a video submission, information on how and when it’s due, and tips for creating an authentic snapshot of yourself.
Which Schools Allow Video Submissions?
Several highly selective schools are now giving students the option to submit a video as part of their application, in addition to or in place of a college interview.
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Bowdoin College offers an optional, supplemental two-minute video response that is unique in that you cannot plan your response in advance. Once you submit your application, the link to record your video response will become available in your Bowdoin Application Portal. When you click the link, you will receive a randomly selected question, like, “Tell us how you would like to spend your birthday,” or, “What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in the last year?” You have 30 seconds to think about your answer and then the recording begins. After you have completed your answer, you get the chance to review, but not edit or re-record, your submitted video response. The optional video response becomes available in late October once applicants are provided access to their Application Portal, and the deadlines are November 28th for ED and January 20th for ED2/RD.
Brown University encourages applicants to submit a two-minute personal video introduction through the Brown Applicant Portal, as they have transitioned away from offering alumni interviews. This video needs to be uploaded within one week of receiving the application acknowledgement email from Brown University that contains your Applicant Portal login credential—so be on the lookout for that email! Brown has a list of suggested prompts and tips from current Brown students about video introduction do’s and don’ts.
Duke University welcomes applicants to record a video using Glimpse by InitalView, which must be submitted by November 6th for Early Decision and January 16th for Regular Decision. Some students are selected for alumni interviews at Duke, but since this cannot be offered to all applicants, Glimpse allows you to record a 60-90 second video on any topic, allowing the college to get to know you better. The video is then submitted to Duke through the Initial View platform, where it is recorded.
The University of Chicago does not offer a traditional college interview, but instead allows students to submit a short video “if you would like to add your voice to your application.” You can upload a two-minute video to your UChicago Account or you create a 60-90 second video using Glimpse by InitialView. If you are recording a Glimpse video, you can record one video on this platform and designate for it be sent to multiple schools. The video will be reviewed as part of your application (ED/EA due November 6th and ED2/RD due January 8th).
Wake Forest University invites applicants to schedule a virtual interview or submit an optional two-to-three minute video submission that answers one of their three prompts. According to their website, “If you choose to request an interview or submit a video, you must do so within five days of submitting your application.” For more tips, Wake Forest’s Admissions Office has this advice for creating a video. You must first submit your application before being sent instructions for uploading the video to the status portal. Wake Forest “wants to hear from students who can speak about their intellectual interests!”
Washington University in St. Louis wants to get to know applicants better through an optional 90-second video. Their instructions state, “Simply capture a quick video of yourself (cell phone is fine) telling us about something important to you,” and they offer a list of potential topics to address. Once your application is submitted, you will receive an email with login information for your WashU Pathway account within a few days. The link to upload your optional video is below the Application Checklist in the WashU Pathway.
Tips for Creating your Video
- Be sure to look into the camera; try to position your laptop, iPad or phone so that the camera is at eye level.
- Center yourself in the screen and check that the frame includes your whole face.
- Prop your video device (laptop, iPad, phone) on a separate surface so that you are not holding it as you speak.
- Stand or sit in front of a clean, organized background.
- Find or create good lighting. Your face should be highlighted and there should not be any bright lights directly behind you.
- Minimize background noise.
- Dress appropriately—not too casual and not too formal.
- Speak clearly. You want to be easily heard and seen.
- If you are using your phone, check that your video is in landscape orientation so that a viewer doesn’t have to turn their head to the side when watching on a computer.
- Begin by saying your name and high school.
- Make an outline of what you would like to say, but do not read from a script. Act natural and be conversational.
- Be creative in expressing your unique self, but also address how you will contribute to the specific school where you are applying.
- Limit your video to the time specified by the college.
- Relax and have fun!
Finally, Ariana Weaver, Wake Forest Admissions Counselor, advises, “Keep it simple and authentic.”
At Collegiate Gateway, we are well-versed in creating impressive and authentic college applications and supplemental materials. We help each college applicant to present their distinctive qualities through videos, interviews, resumes, and essays. Feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help!