Prospective college students are eager to experience your campus as up-close as possible before they visit in person. With today’s technology and widespread use of video, you can deliver remote engagement like never before.
Research among high school students and parents shows that videos are an important part of the college search, with sharp increases in recent years. And the numbers go up significantly as high school students approach graduation.
What do students want to see on these videos?—real life. By huge margins, student testimonials are the most highly preferred content. Secondly, prospective students are interested in virtual campus tours. Conversely, polished introductory videos or recordings of events hold extremely little interest.
So round up those current students or recent alumni who have the best stories to tell! Be sure you have a careful plan, though, because a half-baked production will backfire.
Recently, we posted some tips on Fine-Tuning Your Campus Photography. Read through that advice first, since the same principles apply to video shoots—scheduling, choosing a videographer, planning, and staging. With video, though, you’ll need to take some extra measures for excellent quality.
- Plan content to be sure you cover what’s most important to prospective students. You definitely want to display day-to-day student life and your campus community. But don’t forget why they’re going to college in the first place.
- Choose participants who are comfortable and natural on camera—not polished actors, but not individuals who are stumbling over their words, either.
- Consider regional communication differences. Voice accents and even informal lingo (hey, y’all!) may be part of the character of your region, and that’s great. Keep in mind, though, if you’re recruiting outside your geographic region, these differences will be strikingly apparent. Some appearance of this aspect of your culture is good, but a predominance of regional voices and more-than-occasional colloquialisms may be a turn-off for some prospective students.
- Be sure that participants remove gum before videoing begins (even those in the background who aren’t speaking).
- Edit freely. Short snippets are usually more effective than drawn-out discourses.
For today’s students, video is an indispensable part of exploring the world. Take them on a tour they won’t forget!
Ruffalo Noel Levitz (2015). 2015 high school students’ and parents’ perceptions of and preferences for communication with colleges. Cedar Rapids: Ruffalo Noel Levitz.