College admissions will no doubt be unconventional this year, and 2020 might be among the most unconventional. If you are feeling stress about applying, the article, College Admissions Steps for Rising Seniors in US News by  Tiffany Sorensen offers sound advice. It includes this focus:

       “If you’re a rising senior who plans to apply to college this fall, consider doing these three things:

  • Investigate how your top-choice colleges have altered their ACT and SAT policies.
  • If applicable, inquire about how your top-choice schools now view AP and IB scores.
  • Resist the urge to delay preparation this summer “until things are clearer.” “

The last bullet point – resist the urge to delay preparation – is probably the hardest. But if you can focus this summer and meet early target dates to apply, you will begin your senior year a step ahead. In 2020, that will be such a help if or when just attending school presents even more challenges and uncertainty.

Keep in mind that if your admissions plan includes a college admissions video, you’ll need to allow for a lot of thought and time. Perhaps these tips will motivate you to start to plan to make your admissions video. These tips are useful for your online interviews, too.

1 – Make the first 8 seconds count. What would the admissions counselor want to know about you? What would make them interested to know more? It’s a bet that your name and high school isn’t the most pressing on their minds. Perhaps start by telling how your priorities changed in your life and for college because of covid. Or tell how, because of covid, you have become passionate and have taken action about something.

2 – Explain why you want to go to this school. Is there a passion that you feel this school will further? Key into a specific reason you chose this school.

3- Tell a story. Everyone has a story about a meaningful and memorable event that inspires them or has taught them a life lesson. It could be how covid has impacted you or perhaps a family member that has had a lasting effect, or a teacher or perhaps you learned a lot from a sports defeat. Tie the story into what you said in the first 8 seconds if you can.

4- Make sure if there are admissions questions that you answer them. This video might have information required about you that isn’t in any other part of the application.

5- When you are on camera, be as close to the camera as possible to get the best sound. The audio is just as important, if not more so, than the video. Also, your head should be in the upper third of the frame, not in the middle, so try to avoid all that empty space above your head.

6- Speak clearly and naturally. Try to show your personality. If you are reading your remarks, it’s great to use inflection and even hand gestures. It’s best to look into the camera, rather than at yourself on the screen, so you are making eye contact. And have the camera at eye level, so you are looking straight into the camera.

7- Don’t forget non-verbal parts of the video. When you are on camera, be mindful of the sound and lighting. Do a practice video and take a hard look at and listen to the playback. Look for these types of distractions. Are there shadows on your face, is there a window behind you, posters or wires on the wall, hair out of place, wrinkles in your clothes, too casual clothes or too trendy clothes, lawn mowers passing by, music, phone calls or texts or conversations in the background, or even wind noise, if you are filming outdoors?

There is much to consider, but a good video might just be a deciding factor. Good luck with college admissions!

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