With the popularity of YouTube and virtually everyone having a smartphone with a camera in their purse or pocket, scholarships requiring or having the option for video was inevitable. Scholarship committees not only want to see applicants’ bright and shining faces but also want to make a human out of you instead a series of accomplishments on a webpage.


Not sure what to cover or how to even begin shooting a video? Buckle up Scorsese – you’re about to learn some quick and dirty techniques for video-making.


  • Read the guidelines and understand the topic.


If you remember only one thing away from this article, please let it be this tip. Too many applicants are missing the point—or more aptly, missing the prompt.


Not only is the prompt there to give you guidance and help answer a pressing question, it’s also there to show that you can follow directions. Your application could be penalized merely because you did not follow directions pertaining to your video submission. Why? If you don’t demonstrate comprehension, then you probably don’t deserve to win the award.


  • Break it up.


One thing that will be a big strike against you is if you set up your phone or webcam and deliver your soliloquy. What you’re submitting is essentially a video essay – would you watch someone awkwardly read through an essay for five minutes? The answer is probably NO, so why should a scholarship committee that may have thousands of these to wade through?


  • Have some music.


Music can do wonders for a film. It controls the mood, the tension—the music ever-so subtly influences the viewer to feel a certain way. Music can control us, without us even knowing. You can exploit this fact in your video too! You don’t need to choose Top 40 hits and you don’t need to find the most obscure vaporwave artist around.


If you’re talking about something touching or inspiring, incorporate music that matches that tone. If you can write it yourself, do that (and be sure to mention it in the video).


A word of warning though; make sure to mix your music properly. You should still be able to clearly hear your voice over your music.


  • Try to make it fun.


Reviewing scholarship videos is a job. It may seem like something that you would do in your spare time, but there is genuine work involved in watching hundreds of videos and determining a winner. Creating something that’s fun and (even tougher) funny will certainly make you stand out. No need to practice your standup reel and please don’t break out the riff track, but having a video that captures your unique and interesting style of humor is sure to win the hearts of many.


  • Make sure your video shows that you read the guidelines and understood the topic.

Hey! It’s this one again! That means it’s super important! You MUST follow the guidelines set by the program sponsors when it comes to both the creation and submission of your video. Seriously.