How to Make an Awesome College Application Video

Technology has taken the world by storm and college applications are now getting involved. If you’ve been applying to schools, you may have seen that some require or give you the option to do an admissions video application for college. Instead of spending hours curating a well-written essay during your college admissions process, high schoolers can prop up their camera or phone and record it! There may be an optional video response or a two-minute personal video introduction, but it varies on the individual college. These short video presentations are great for high school students who prefer public speaking over writing essays. Here’s how to make a winning college application video essay to get you into your top colleges.

College Application Video Tips

1. Be Yourself

Making a self-introduction video for a college application process can seem very intimidating, especially if you’re not used to being in front of a camera. Unlike a written essay, you can’t go back and edit as you go. With a video application, it’s usually one take and a few minutes long depending on the prompt. It’s important to be yourself and show your personality through your application video. We’re not telling you to do a show and tell of all your favorite things, but we’re discouraging you from being robotic and monotone.

2. Use Good Lighting and Quality Camera

Using an old camera and bad lighting may be a good idea if you’re making a post-apocalyptic video, but not for a college application. You don’t need a ring light and a complete studio setup to achieve good lighting. Use natural lighting by being near a window with the light in front of you rather than behind you. If the lighting is behind you, the shadows will not show the features on your face well. This simple trick will make a huge difference.

As for a good quality camera, you don’t need to buy one. If you have a smartphone, you can usually create a nice video with it. But, if you don’t have a smartphone or a camera, you can ask a friend to shoot the video for you or even ask a teacher at school. If your school has a photography class, reach out to their teacher to see if you can come after school to use it with their supervision. You can then send the footage to yourself or upload it on a flash drive!

3. Minimize Background Noise

Creating a clear and excellent video goes beyond a good script and camera quality. Eliminating background noise will allow the admissions officers to hear you clearly with no distractions. It shows professionalism and is really appreciated by your audience. It’s best if you film your college application video while there is no one home or when it’s super quiet in your house. You can shut all the doors and even ask your family to minimize their noise for a few minutes so you can get it done quickly.

4. Create a Script

We know we said not to sound like a robot, but you don’t want to ramble in your college application video. Creating a script allows you to stay focused on the prompt and practice what you’re saying, even if you don’t follow it word-for-word. To make your script, read the application instructions and prompts thoroughly and start writing down your thoughts. It will be like writing a college essay except less formal. It’s important to stay on topic and not stray from the instructions – the admissions committees pay attention to this detail. Once you’ve written your script, practice it in the mirror a few times at a conversational pace. You don’t want to go too fast because you’re nervous or too slow. A script helps keep your train of thought during takes too!


Using these college application video tips should help you create a winning application submission. Filming video applications for college is fun and convenient for those who want to try something different from a written essay. The traditional application process isn’t made for all students, which is why we love the video application idea! By following College Raptor’s college application video ideas, you’ll be able to confidently put yourself in front of a camera and tell the committee why you’re a great fit for their school in a creative way using your compelling story. 

If you’re still searching for the right college, use our college search tool to find one that fits all your needs. And to help pay for your college, the scholarship match tool will show you all the scholarships that you’re eligible for! You’ll see financial aid packages and helpful tips on choosing the right college for you!