It’s not easy to make good student video testimonials

It's not easy to make good student video testimonials
Do you ever press play on international student testimonial videos? Source: Dương Trần Quốc/Unsplash

“Hello, my name is Emily and I studied International Media and Communications at the University of Nottingham. I’m originally from the country of …”

As many international student videos start off with or include a simple introduction like the one above, I can’t help but ask the question, are these videos a testimonial to the university or a testimonial to the interviewee?

Who’s the star – the student or the university? Source: Jakob Owens/Unsplash

Universities are battling against each other to create the most tech-savvy and aesthetically appealing websites to reel in students from the ever-growing pool of international talent.

To complement flashy rebrands of their websites, many have transferred international alumni testimonials over to insightful videos. By doing so, these institutions hope to demonstrate the inclusivity and diversity of their student community and aim to secure a vast number of new applications.

So, if a prospective student from a foreign country is uncertain about moving to another country to fulfil their academic aspirations, these videos are there both to comfort and entice them into the university’s international student network.

By relating to a specific student’s testimonial footage, prospective learners start to feel a digital connection to the university before applying for their course or setting foot on campus.

Plus, in a world of short attention spans, winning over a student’s interests online is an incredible achievement.

International student videos with visual appeal

To distinguish what makes an international student video stay afloat among the trending waves of cyberspace, I’ve selected the following five online testimonials from YouTube (all posted in 2018) that captured my interests.

By briefly analysing the appeal of each video through my personal opinions, I hope to unravel the key factors that prevent international students from pressing pause and skipping to the next university web page…

LASALLE Singapore 

  • Short and snappy video with quick transitions, keeps the viewer engaged.
  • Attractive designs are featured throughout to reflect the art school’s creativity.
  • Student speaks about the community as a whole, rather than just herself.
  • Fluent brand theme throughout, helps the viewer establish LASALLE’s unique identity.

Middlesex University

  • Introduces herself in Swedish first to promote the university’s inclusivity.
  • Allows the viewer to see the facilities – a behind-the-scenes look into the university.
  • Location-based marketing is used throughout to help the viewer see the surroundings.
  • Vibrant visuals – most of the frames are in bright spaces such as outside and in the lab.

University of Amsterdam

  • Uses subtitles and audio, helps all levels of English-speaking students understand the video.
  • Walks you through the student’s daily journey so the reader can put themselves in his shoes.
  • Relates his choices back to his home country’s issues – strong international connection.
  • Talks to the viewer, “Choose your own path, launch your career, start your journey here.”

The Australian Institute of Music

  • Has rhythmic background music to reflect the school’s purpose.
  • Bounces from the student’s interview to snapshots of the university in action.
  • Promotes competitions and events at the school – highlights vast opportunities.
  • “If you’re an international student…” – speaks directly to the audience.

Deakin College

  • Starts the video with a walk on a beach – a study paradise for all!
  • Modern videography styles with slow-motion imagery and neutral colour tones.
  • Focused on one student and doesn’t overcomplicate the video with too many transitions.
  • Introduces himself at the end of the video- alternative style to rigid testimonial formats.

So, what’s your opinion of these testimonials?

As an aspiring international student or a current university graduate, what’s your opinion of these videos?

Do they draw you in with their impressive transitions and techniques? Or is it their testimonial content that grasps your fleeting attention span?

With a need for speed and instant reactions, the digital age is driving us towards a society dependent on visual and virtual marketing. Taking this into account, these are the types of questions universities will start asking themselves when creating new testimonials for their websites.

But one thing is for sure – the future of education is uncertain. So we must also question how long it will be until traditional marketing formats for universities are replaced with virtual reality campus experiences or holograms of digitally-programmed international students…

Many universities like UNH are now offering virtual tours of their campus! Source: Giphy

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