Undergraduate admission adds video prompt to application

  • The faces of admissionThe members of the admission committee recently made a video to prompt prospective students as they fill out their College application. The video introduces the members of the committee as "not who you think they are."

    The faces of admission

The College of William and Mary's Office of Undergraduate Admission has found a unique way to inspire prospective students as they fill out their College application. Instead of just reading text instructing them on how to fill out their supplemental essay, they will now hear from the William and Mary Admission Committee itself in the form of a short, fun video.

The lively, two-minute piece uses a variety of quick video edits, photos and creative text overlays to give students insight into what the admission committee is looking for in the essays. The video also introduces the members of the committee as "not who you think they are," showing them on a Facebook page and forming a conga line.

"We're taking advantage of the fact that the Web enables us to do more than merely to replicate our paper application form in an online environment," said Henry Broaddus, dean of admission. "Although students do not need to see the video prompt in order to complete their applications successfully, the video offers additional context that is intended both to put them at ease and to promote their creativity."

William and Mary is the first and only member institution that links to a video prompt from its supplemental form for the Common Application. Used by more than 300 schools, the Common Application is a standardized first-year application. The only institution-specific portion of the application is the supplemental section. Most institutions just provide text in that area to prompt potential students in their writing. However, Broaddus thought something more was needed.

"We wanted to inject a sense of whimsy into a process that can be an enormous source of stress," he said. "Ideally, applying to college should feel more like an opportunity for self-expression than it does like entering a painful competition."

Broaddus wrote the screenplay for the video, which was produced by Kelsh Wilson Design, the same company that produced the video that the office shows to campus visitors. The video is currently live on William and Mary's supplemental form for the Common Application, and it can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwxQ6J9_fLY.

For more information about the video, visit http://www.henrybroaddus.com/Misc/Video_Prompt.html. For the script, visit http://www.henrybroaddus.com/Misc/Screenplay.html.