7 Admission Videos You Don’t Want to Miss

Vol. 13 No. 1

admissions eletter Vol13 No1 pressplay

Pictures get more attention than text—why do you think Vine and Pinterest have taken off? That’s aside from the wild success of YouTube and the resulting interest in video for multimedia marketing campaigns. But video can be an intimidating medium to try for an admissions campaign. For your viewing pleasure, then, we’ve found seven private-independent school admission videos to inspire your own video campaign and show what can be done on various size budgets.

1. Blair Academy

As a co-ed boarding school, Blair Academy has more to cover in their admission material than a day school might. (After all, students are there 24/7!) To accommodate this greater need, Blair Academy has put together several videos to describe different aspects of the school, all with the same formatting and theme.

We’ve featured their “Blair Academy—Life on the Hilltop” video as a nice overview of what they’ve done in their videos. The unscripted student perspectives are interspersed with targeted quotes featuring clips of campus and academic life, accompanied by non-invasive background music. Finally, the school included select faculty perspectives, which offer a more mature and reassuring voice to parent viewers.

2. Cate School

There’s a lot to be said for producing a video in-house rather than turning to an outside vendor. Cate School decided to turn to native talent to work on a film for their school—their students!

This student-made film is incredibly simple, with students and the occasional faculty or staff member chiming in with why they think you, the viewer, should attend their school. The quotes range from discussing academics to describing after-school life—a crucial topic for a boarding school to cover. The speakers’ earnestness comes through loud and strong, creating a genuine, engaging connection with the viewer.

3. De La Salle North

Created for their “Changing Destinies” campaign, the video crew at De La Salle North tried something different for its video contribution. They approached seniors with a microphone and asked them how the school affected them in the various areas in which the campaign is focused—from college-prep and time management to leadership and critical thinking skills.

In our opinion, the nicest touches in this video aren’t the crisp, clean stock clips of the students—it’s the allowance for the human mistakes. (For example, while a young man speaks in a voice-over, a clip shows him holding his placard the wrong way. The interviewer corrects him, laughing, and the two share a moment.) Even the stumbles and stutters from the students add character to this video, elevating another simple video concept into something greater.

4. Faith West Academy

At 14:18, Faith West Academy’s video clocks in as the longest of all of the videos collected for this list. The school covers a huge range of topics, creating a video testament to the private school’s dedication to its primary mission. While the video was originally created for Faith West Academy’s Development Office’s “Born to Fly” campaign, it finds a welcome home in the Admission Office.

From students to faculty to parents to the founder himself, the video interviews provide a fantastic foundation for viewers to understand how an education at Faith West Academy impacts students. Student narrator Tommy Mote provides a central narrative line, giving the video a cohesion it could otherwise have lacked. Again, the candid student interviews are revealing, especially concerning the school’s primary strengths.

5. Garrison Forest School

Garrison Forest School has separate campuses from pre-K to grade 12. With so many different programs to cover, the Admission Office developed a different video for each school instead of compiling all the programs into a single video.

For several of its videos, the school gave camcorders to students and teachers to demonstrate a “real” student’s perspective during class and activities. Interviews of administrators play a larger role in the videos for the younger classes, with poignant statements to illustrate the advantages of their single-sex program. In our featured video for their preschool, the School Head explains many details to reassure viewers—particularly the anomaly of having co-ed rather than single-sex classes on an all-girls’ campus!

6. North Shore County Day School

North Shore County Day School has three schools—lower, middle, and upper—to cover in their videos. Instead of montaging several student interviews, though, the Admission Office made shorter, edited videos featuring a single student’s interview with the camera crew. These videos were uploaded onto the school’s site and YouTube page in school-specific playlists, organizing many separate interviews into broader categories.

Without a fancy background or pretty music, the students are the focal point of the videos. This tactic implies, “We don't need fancy fades or pretty shots to make our videos or school engaging—our students are all you need to understand.”

7. Trinity School

Finally, Trinity School is like Cate School in that its Admission Office used resources already available in-house, but the school took this idea to another level—the office taped the open house speakers! After all, if you’ve got people talking about why your school is wonderful, why make them do it twice?

While they didn’t post their videos to YouTube, Trinity School’s Admission Office did make their videos easily viewable on their home website. This means the viewers coming from their general search page will be led directly to their primary website, as opposed to viewing the video once on a social media page and disappearing.

Additional ISM resources:
ISM Monthly Update for Admission Officers Vol. 9 No. 3 Four Ways Schools Can Increase Interest With YouTube
ISM Monthly Update for Development Directors Vol. 8 No. 1 Before You Post That Video On Your Web Site...

Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 27 No. 14 Creative Ways to Demonstrate Programmatic Success
I&P Vol. 35 No. 5 The 21st Century School: Students

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