Five Great Recruitment Videos from Colleges and Universities

Posted Feb. 21 2012, 12:01:34 pm

Standing Partnership

Video is a powerful promotional tool, particularly for colleges and universities recruiting prospective students. While researching best practices for recruitment videos in higher education, we found there are many factors that go into making a video successful and effective. The most successful student recruitment videos clearly highlight what separates that college or university from its competitors, and does so in a unique and powerful manner. Effective university recruitment videos often speak to the school’s culture and ultimately the student experience.

Often universities make the mistake of making recruitment videos that highlight what’s important to administrators rather than focus on what will resonate with prospective students. While I may not be a prospective college student, it’s easy to find captivating college recruitment videos (that also had me wishing I would have joined the college glee club) when you think like a prospective student.

Here are five of our favorites:

    • Many schools produce LipDub videos featuring the students and faculty lip-syncing popular tunes. Yale stepped it up a notch and created “That’s Why I Chose Yale,” for its recruitment video. It’s an original piece of cinematography produced by undergraduate students. Prospective students learn about the Yale experience, campus life and academics through this innovative musical approach.


  • The University of Pennsylvania captured student testimonials with, “True Learning” an approachable prospective student recruitment video that provides a day-in-the-life look into student stories and backgrounds. The promotional video’s elegant and smooth flow highlights Penn’s key differentiators while helping prospective students visualize how they would fit in at the university.



  • Washington University in St. Louis took a more traditional approach with its student recruitment video. Washington University highlights academics, residential and extracurricular activities, school history and location information with unscripted student testimonials and exciting visuals.



  • Harvard University’s moving recruitment video, “Harvard – There’s No Place Like It ,” created a simple and playful way to answer prospective students’ questions (and highlights key differentiators) through statistics. The casual use of students and faculty members paired with impressive statistics helps grab the audience’s attention and allow prospective students to see how they would fit in at Harvard.



  • Biola University took a simple approach to its promotional video through a series titled The Journey . A selection of short videos allows Biola students to tell their stories in an open way to which prospective students can easily relate. With clean fresh graphics, Biola’s recruitment videos work well with an attractive student recruitment microsite dedicated to undergraduate admissions. Biola offers the whole package, answering most questions a potential student might have. Saint Louis University uses a similar approach with its Be a Billiken campaign.


The most effective recruitment and promotional videos offer a sincere look into the lives of students while providing information to help prospective students and parents make the best decisions about choosing the right college.

There are a lot of effective ways to approach a college recruitment video. I think highlighting key differentiators such as location and programs to be very important but that may change based on a college or university’s objectives.

What makes an effective promotional video for you? Do any other prospective student recruitment videos stand out in your mind as exceptional?


Written by Larrisa Piper, former Standing Partnership employee

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