The prompt received a gold medal in the category of "new media" during Higher Education Marketing Report's 24th Annual Admissions Advertising Awards. William & Mary was the only institution with an enrollment between 5,000 and 9,999 to receive a gold medal in that category.
"We're delighted to be recognized, and we're even more pleased with the response we've had from students and families," said Henry Broaddus, dean of admission at William & Mary.
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.
Since it was first placed on YouTube in September 2008, the video has been viewed more than 14,500 times. Viewers have also left 18 comments on the video, many of them praising it.
One viewer wrote, "I've been doing college apps for several months now and this is one of the first times a University has made me smile." Another viewer wrote "This is brilliant. Whenever I'm feeling bogged down in my application process I flip to this video for reassurance. Thank you!"