Creating a good video submission is more art than science. Just like how you can’t write a good essay without preparation, you can’t make a good video essay just by clicking a “record” button.

More and more scholarships are allowing applicants to submit short videos instead of written essays, so it’s important to know the best practices and rules of thumb when creating a video essay.

In this blog post, we’ll share some useful tips on how to make an effective video essay that will help make your application stand out!

#1 Prepare in Advance

  • Write out a short outline or script.
  • Revise your script for content and clarity.
  • Make sure to double check the time limit and specifications before you film!
  • Think about your response, practice it, and make sure you hit all the points you want to make.
  • Do not read from the script, as this will be obvious to the viewer. Instead, the purpose of the script is to remind you of the points you want to make. 

#2 Choose a quiet space

  • Once you’ve established your response, let anyone who you share a household or office with know not to disturb you.
  • Before you start recording, close any programs that might prompt you with push notifications or pop-ups.
  • Check to see if you have at least an hour of battery life or, better yet, plug into a power source!

#3 Lighting

  • Find a well-lit area and turn on your camera and adjust your placement to ensure you have a clear background behind you.
  • Adjust your lighting and position to find an arrangement that shines light on your face, rather than backlighting you.

#4 Video

  • Clean the lens on your camera or webcam before recording the video.
  • Videos DO NOT need to be professionally filmed, lit, edited etc. — you can use your phones or laptops to record.
  • If you’re using a phone, stabilize it by propping it up between two books or using a phone tripod. 
  • Generally, the best practice is to film in landscape (horizontally) and position your camera at eye level.

#5 Address the prompt

  • Make sure no matter how you put the video together that you’re addressing the prompt using specific details
  • Be specific and tailor your responses.

#6 Submitting

  • Make sure to review your video to ensure that it has uploaded successfully and the resolution is clear without glitches, awkward moments or other problems!
  • Remember to take your time with your response, be yourself, and speak from the heart, and you’ll do great.

If you follow the tips above, you’ll be on your way to recording better college and scholarship video essays!