Higher Education Marketing

Video Content Made by Colleges and Universities In-House

A college campus building at dusk

By idfive \ May 2, 2016

If the success of home-spun YouTube channels has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need high quality production value to engage a young audience.

While documentaries and compelling commercials should always have a place in a school’s marketing toolbox, if you want to have a steady flow of video content to share you may need to slack on production value and scope, and stop thinking of every YouTube video as a commercial.

To prove our point, watch this video of an MFA student testimonial, and then ask yourself, would a “compelling” instrumental track and more education-themed montage shots make the student’s description of the program more or less believable?

If your honest answer is less believable, then check out the rest of the videos we’ve curated, because we think you’re on to something.

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DIY College Video Marketing

  1. Colgate University- 13 Second videos: These quick videos tease prospective students with shots of the school’s campus, libraries, sports games, Freshmen arrival day and much more. It’s college life captured in under 13 seconds—a perfect example of easy to make and digestible content for any social media, as well and a smart way to repurpose long form video!
  2. UNC Chapel Hill- Goats on Campus: UNC Chapel Hill is a fairly large school, but with this video content they show a quirky and personable side that could attract the type of student more comfortable with a small-school atmosphere.
  3. Boston University- Cycling on campus: No one would have made video content about how easily you can cycle around campus ten years ago. But these days it’s cool (as well as green) to bike around, especially when you have a wonderful campus and city to peddle through. It’s time to rethink your school’s amenities.
  4. Hamilton College- Welcoming freshmen: A combination of first impression testimonials from Freshmen just arriving on campus and advice from the saintly undergrads greeting them makes this video an inspirational piece to reassure prospects and parents alike. 
  5. Oklahoma University- Hi5OU April 2016 Edition: With a high quality camera, an animated intro and a talented speaker the OU Webcomm team was able to make this series of monthly updates on what’s happening on their campus. It’s a little corny, but who cares, it looks good and it’s informative and bright. It also feels like it was made by ambitious students, which is important to remember.
  6. Illinois University- Admissions Questions: While they don’t include the actual students themselves these videos do star two members of the admission team (the very engaging April and Vern) answering prospective student questions about the admissions process. The videos are useful and fun, and a great example of how to utilize your internal team. 
  7. D’Youville College- International students: This is the only video we found that focuses on international students, and it’s coming from a smaller sized college. Don’t let the dramatic music fool you, by using shots of the film set and funny outtakes, the creators of this video did a great job of making it inspiring and down to earth at the same time. 
  8. Tufts- Do you ever wonder?: Catered to today’s millennial that binges on information online, these short videos feature professors answering interesting questions from within their fields. There are a ton of these videos, all of which are ready to suck in the curious and smart students that Tufts wants applying.
  9. Georgetown University – Ask a professor: This is a similar concept to Tufts’, but even more academically intensive. For example, how cosmic radiation affects air travel, isn’t something the average person thinks about in the shower. But then again, Georgetown University isn’t for the average student.
  10. University of Pennsylvania- Advice for Freshmen from current students: The creators of this video got students to advise freshmen to “take advantage of their professors intellect” in a totally genuine way. Tip of the hat to them. It reminds us that a campus is filled with thousands of down to earth, presentable advocates of your school. Film enough of them and you’ll get some good stuff.

If you care to hear more video content marketing ideas, or would like to talk about a distribution strategy for your content and how to feed the results into your admissions and recruitment systems, give us a shout.