How To Use Video For Student Recruitment

4 min read

Elise Hodge



Today’s prospective students live in an immersive world of video content, whether watching videos on YouTube, endlessly flicking through Instagram Stories or scrolling through hundreds of 15-second videos on TikTok.

With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that video is a valuable tool for university marketers. If video is not part of your student recruitment strategy yet, now is the time to get started!

While video can be used to engage current students and inform staff, it is perhaps most powerful as a tool to communicate with and recruit new students to your institution. Using video for recruitment goes beyond merely raising brand awareness. Marketers can use video to strategically nurture a student throughout their journey from initial interest to filling out an information form to enrolling in a program and beyond.

How do you get started with video and what kind of content should you share? We’re covering all of the details in this post.

Why should you use video for student recruitment?

Video doesn’t just drive brand awareness, it drives intent. Video can influence a student’s decision to apply to a university. This is particularly true for online universities and courses. According to a study by Google and Greenberg on the Role of Video in the Student Decision Journey, 80 per cent of prospective students who planned to attend an online university said watching an online video influenced their decision to apply.

Video can also enhance a person’s positive emotions. The same study by Google and Greenberg found that prospective students who planned to return to school at an online university were significantly more likely to say they felt excited, confident, or enthusiastic after watching videos tailored to their programs. These are the same emotions people reported feeling after enrolling in a course.

What style of video should you use?

Creating great videos doesn’t have to be expensive. If you don’t have the budget for a professional videographer to film videos for your university, the good news is that there are other ways to use video. Here are a few styles of video that you can create:

  1. Professional videos: If you can create a professional video for your campus, this is a great place to start. You could create a general welcome video that sits on the homepage of your website. Alternatively, you could create specific videos for each faculty. These could be embedded on your website and shared across your social media platforms.

  2. Facebook videos: Facebook videos should be kept to a ratio of 9:16 to 16:9 and produced with the highest resolution available. Videos should be kept between 2-5 minutes for optimal engagement.

  3. Instagram videos: Instagram supports square (1:1), vertical (9:16 or 4:5) and horizontal (16:9) videos with the square option the most popular choice among marketers. Instagram supports videos up from 60 seconds (for a standard profile video) to a maximum length of 120 seconds using IGTV.

  4. Instagram Stories: This is a great place to create an engaging conversation with your students. There is no need to upload professional videos to Instagram Stories, as these type of videos are usually presented in an authentic and casual manner. These videos can be filmed in real-time or uploaded at a later time. As most Instagram users are often in public, it is best practice to include captions in your Instagram Stories so they can understand the content while their sound is off.

  5. Live videos: Going live on Facebook or Instagram is an effective way to engage with students in real-time. You can do this by clicking the “live” button inside Instagram Stories or by allowing Zoom to stream to your university’s Facebook page. Live videos are helpful for presenting informational content or answering frequently asked questions.

  6. Personalized videos: Recording software such as Loom or Vidyard can make it easy for recruiters to quickly record and send personalized videos. This can be a great way to respond to potential students, adding a personal touch to the recruitment process!

Top tips for video creation

  1. Document the college experience: Use Instagram Stories to document what every-day life on campus looks like. This could include an overview of the campus, the library, and other facilities. Day in the life videos could be run by students who “takeover” the university Instagram account for the day and share their unique experiences.

  2. Create faculty-specific content: While overview content is helpful to get a feel for the university as a whole, specific content has the power to attract students to programs. You could create this content by sharing a mix of student and faculty stories, as well as touching on graduate success stories using recent graduates and alumni.

  3. Share alumni stories: Interview alumni and ask them to tell a story from their first year of university. Alternatively, ask them to share about how college gave them the opportunities they have today.

  4. Share exciting memories: There’s nothing more motivational for prospective students than seeing that they get to be a part of something. This is a huge part of the college and university experience. Create video content that highlights memorable moments, whether they are snippets from the football team win or a college milestone.

  5. Answer commonly asked questions: Prospective students have a lot of questions, and video provides you with the opportunity to answer them. You could have a dedicated time when you answer frequently asked questions on Instagram Stories or live on Facebook each week or month. You could also film a professional video for your enrollments web page, answering all of the possible questions students have.

There is no doubt that sight, sound, and motion are a powerful combination. We have all experienced the emotions that come with being moved to tears by a video or inspired to take action. When used strategically, video is a powerful tool for student recruitment, creating a relationship between prospective students and your institution that will last beyond enrollment.

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