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How to create the perfect video application for university

video application
Video applications may play a bigger part in university admissions moving forward. Source: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

If you’ve decided to enrol in university during this pandemic, you already know that a video application is the way to go. These short clips could play an important role in times of social distancing; CV and admission essay aside, your video application is your shot at a memorable introduction.

As human resource professional Beth Finneran says, “It’s an interview minus the mishaps and subsequent facepalms, and the chance to make an awesome first impression with the added ability to take as much time as necessary to get it right.” So if the deadline for that video application is inching closer, fret not — this is actually a great opportunity designed to work in your favour. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

Make a memorable first impression

Your video application should complement your written documents. Since the university already has all your information, avoid boring introductions that repeat generic identifiers. Instead, show what sets you apart beyond grades and accomplishments. You only have a few minutes to win them over — how do you make them count? Well, your opener should paint a picture that hooks your audience into your story.

Tell a compelling story

Here’s the best part: you get to show them who you are in your own way. Start with a story that conveys your essence and value, or create a narrative that allows you to showcase your best side. Brian Witte from the College Admissions Playbook offers this advice: “Choose an event that is meaningful to you, such as success or defeat in sports, the birth of a younger sibling, or a time when a teacher took special notice of your work. Then, use that moment to set the context of your video.”

Be honest (strategically)

Witte points out that a video application is very much an advertisement for yourself. So make your motivations and ambitions clear. Is it public service, personal success, or family-related? Then, connect your personal motivations to the reason you want to get into this university. Are the resources aligned with your research interest? Are you drawn to its local industry connections? Don’t be afraid to unleash your passion; the best way to do this in an engaging manner is to plan a flow for your video instead of memorising a script. Plus, your audience can tell when you’re being genuine, and it will make you infinitely more relatable.

Submit a clear, audible video application

We can all agree that videos are a fun way to show how you get creative while displaying your personality and ambitions. Don’t forget, though, that production quality is important, too. Do a couple of test shots to check for lighting and sound. Besides that, ensure you are in a space with minimal distractions because you never want the viewer to shift their attention away from you. On that note, you should also look your best; wear colours that contrast with your background, and pick a sensible but flattering angle. 

Once you’re done shooting, don’t be afraid to do a little editing with free, easy-to-learn software. This process also allows you to catch any mistakes or peculiarities. Finally, before you send that application, ask someone you trust to watch it and give their opinion, then edit accordingly.

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