We sat down with Ethan Lin, Head of Education at ZeeMee, to talk about how students can create positive video content for the college admissions process. Below are his top tips for creating college admissions videos to add to your online portfolio.
How and why should students create video content?
Teenagers create and consume video content on a daily basis. College admission officials are often themselves right out of college, sometimes even one or two years. We see a lot of folks who are twenty-three and twenty-four. They use Snapchat and all of these video apps as well as Google. Video is emerging as the most powerful way to get to know someone without actually meeting them. College admissions officials are getting up to 3,000 applications a year and they can’t meet everyone. –Ethan Lin, ZeeMee
What are some tips for creating video content on ZeeMee?
- Colleges tell us that video content is the most powerful part of a ZeeMee.
- On the ZeeMee platform, you can answer questions in short videos. You have 26 seconds and may record as many videos as you would like. The app will send you questions to get things started, and you can also record short freeform videos on any topic.
- Get used to responding to questions. It’s very natural and casual.
- There are many ways to take videos – selfie style is the most popular, but you can also narrate yours without showing your face, have someone else talk about you, or even be creative! It’s all about short video. Why? Because college admissions officials read up to 3,000 applications each every year. –Ethan Lin, ZeeMee
What are colleges looking for in student videos?
Colleges tell us that they don’t want to see videos that look like they were produced by James Cameron or Michael Bay. They know that you are a student in your teens, they want to see you as yourself. Be authentic and genuine. Do not worry about how well lit the room is, if the lighting is okay, if the audio quality is perfect, if the t-shirt is wrinkled, or if your hair is perfect. Try to eliminate barriers between the college being able to easily watch and hear your video, but it doesn’t need to be perfect because that isn’t what colleges are looking for when they watch these videos. –Ethan Lin, ZeeMee
What do you mean by “show your character?” How can students do this in a video?
These are things that are developmental and that are a process. You have character strengths and character opportunities. Colleges highly value this. They know that character is just as important as socioeconomic background or even IQ for determining your success in life. I would encourage parents to check out Character Lab, they are a non-profit that does a lot of leading research in this area. Really think about showcasing your character through the power of your video. Think about the different examples of character such as curiosity, gratitude, grit, growth mindset, purpose, zest, optimism, and social emotional intelligence. As you make a video, think about the character strengths that you want to show a college that you have. –Ethan Lin, ZeeMee
ZeeMee helps students show up on Google, but how?
Google searches are so important. ZeeMee can help you put yourself out there in a positive and professional way when students choose to make their pages “public” on ZeeMee. ZeeMee is indexed by Google and therefore students can see these positive and engaging videos that showcase their best versions of themselves to anyone searching their name. You can even find ZeeMee in the Common App and the Coalition App, which makes it highly accessible to college admissions officers. –Ethan Lin, ZeeMee
How can students understand their search results?
A lot of students use ZeeMee for their positive digital identity because your ZeeMee is likely to show up at or near the top of your Google Search results. If there’s one thing that Josh’s followers know, is the importance of searching for yourself online. That comes up a lot because it really is that important!. A college admissions reader is a human being with a smartphone and a laptop computer. They are seconds away from googling your name – and many of them admit to doing it! Often times they’re not even trying to snoop, but may just want to learn more about an acronym you may have used that they aren’t familiar with. Final piece of advice – don’t leave the admissions office with more questions than answers in your essay, and definitely not your ZeeMee. –Ethan Lin, ZeeMee