Student recruitment

Video content: Capturing the attention of potential university students

There’s never been a better time to employ video to quickly grab the attention of international students and set your university apart from the thousands of others vying for students’ attention. 


Leslie Birch
March 14, 2022
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6 min

More millennials and Gen Zers turned to social media in 2020 than ever before, seeking connection, entertainment, and real-time information in the face of pandemic isolation. 

A recent study by Omnicom Media Group and Snap Inc. showed that both of these demographic groups dramatically increased video consumption on their phones — Gen Z by 67% and millennials by 51%. In fact, video content has such a major impact on Gen Z and millennials that 1 in 2 surveyed in a YouTube report said they “don’t know how they’d get through life without it.”

TikTok. YouTube. Snapchat. Instagram. Twitter. 

These social media platforms have experienced exponential growth in the past few years, spurred in part by the pandemic and the popularity of video content. According to Marketing Dive, Instagram reaches a jaw-dropping 1 billion users per month, while TikTok has amassed an impressive monthly audience of 689 million users.

The massive popularity of video content with Gen Z presents countless new and creative opportunities for university recruiting teams. There’s never been a better time to employ video to quickly grab the attention of international students and set your university apart from the thousands of others vying for students’ attention. 

Each year (beginning in Grade 9), Cialfo’s network of 250,000+ international students begins the life-changing process of researching, shortlisting, and longlisting potential universities. With the help of their parents and high school counselors, these students start the journey to find their best university match using Cialfo. Based on their interests, preferences, and academic goals, the platform helps students navigate through potential options to choose the universities they feel would be the best fit for them. Each of the 1,000 universities (with the number growing by the day) in the Cialfo network has a dedicated profile page within the platform. These profiles were consciously designed to look similar to students’ beloved social media platforms to attract attention and boost engagement.

The Standard profile is a dedicated page in the Cialfo platform where universities spotlight their unique offerings, share need-to-know facts, promote upcoming events, feature student/alumni testimonials, communicate directly with interested students, and more. These profiles provide students the information they are seeking along with the ability to address any unanswered questions they may have with a university representative. Students conduct their university research in the same all-in-one platform they use to communicate with their school counselors, keep track of tasks and important deadlines, and ultimately, submit their college applications - simplifying the entire process from initial university discovery through decision-making and enrollment.

Universities that partner with Cialfo benefit from unprecedented access to the exclusive network of international students and the ability to customize their profiles for maximum engagement. 

The university profiles aim to answer virtually every question a student might have about a prospective school - from financial aid to costs to applicants’ average SAT score. Having instant access to a lot of school-specific information in a single digital platform is incredibly valuable to students. 

Leading universities from all corners of the world are seeing the benefits of moving from a Standard profile to a Premium profile in Cialfo, giving them the ability to fully customize their content. One example is the University of Chicago - whose admissions team began leveraging their Premium profile to further their reach and make more connections in light of pandemic travel restrictions and shutdowns.

“Cialfo’s premium profile and content library have been helpful in navigating the 'new normal' of international student engagement. We’ve been able to share our virtual opportunities and summer programs with students around the world.”

Michelle Trimpe, Deputy Director of Admissions & Director of International Admissions, University of Chicago

With a Premium profile, there’s yet another invaluable tool that can help your institution reach even more students and keep their attention. You guessed it: Video! 

Universities can use video content to generate deeper engagement with students

Canada’s OCAD University features attention-grabbing videos on their Premium profile to attract international students interested in studying art, design, or digital media. Students who visit OCAD’s profile can immediately get an in-depth look into OCAD’s admissions process, hear about life in Canada from currently enrolled students, and discover the top 10 reasons to choose OCAD - all through imaginative video content!

Emerson Buczolits, Manager of International Student Recruitment at OCAD University, spoke of his university’s use of digital outreach to international students:

"The OCAD University Admissions & Recruitment office is dedicated to creating and providing quality and accessible services for our potential applicants. The digital space allows us to interact with more students worldwide than ever before through means of videos, info-sessions, online workshops and more."

OCAD’s use of video to capture students’ attention illustrates some of the creative ways you can successfully use this medium to engage more students in your own digital profile. 

Here are a few other ideas for creating unique video content to put your school in the spotlight:

  • Take students on a video tour and highlight all the popular spots on and off-campus. 
  • Hand the camera off to currently enrolled students; let them record a “day in the life” of an international student. 
  • Capture alumni presentations and sporting events.
  • Interview faculty members in your top programs. 
  • Explore your university’s city or town and share some history lessons and must-see tips. 
  • Highlight all the ways students can meet their peers and get involved by showcasing different student organizations. 
  • Share your school’s spirit with a cameo from your school’s mascot or video of the marching band. 

The sky’s the limit when it comes to using creative videos to connect and communicate with potential students!

With video viewership at record highs, now is the time to quickly capture students’ attention through their most-preferred medium. Use video to offer them an engaging end-to-end recruiting experience and demonstrate all the reasons why your university should be at the top of their college lists.

Interested in a Premium Profile for your university? Learn more about it here


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