Be Inspired With These 18 Higher Ed Marketing Videos

Be Inspired With These 18 Higher Ed Marketing Videos

The higher education system is niching down and focusing their marketing efforts to find the best students that are the right for them.

Here are 18 schools—whether they’re generalists or specialists, big or small, well-known or hidden gems—that have figured out how to attract their kind of student through amazing marketing videos.

Adler University in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Title: Not Just Another Year (2016 Annual Report)

Why It Works

An annual report never looked so good. Oh, and it also won a gold medal in the 32nd annual Education Advertising Awards.

Adler University alternates footage of their many campuses with statistics and goals from their 2016 academic year, which include improving access to mental health care, protecting LGBT youth and advancing prison reform.

It works because it gives the viewer a vision of how her degree can change her life, even after she leaves school. The focus here is not on your time at Adler, specifically; it’s more about Adler’s craving to dream big and an invitation for the viewer to come join in making it happen.

Angelo State University in San Angelo, TX

Title: Rambunctious Weekend

Why It Works

Angelo State, another EduADAward winner (gold medalist!), kicks off their videos with catchy music and students walking by in groups, giving the Angelo State ram hand symbol.

It focuses more on the student’s time at Angelo State, and pretty much says, “You’re going to have fun here.” This one’s all for fun and solely for attracting the younger crowd looking for a clean, fun college experience.

BI Norwegian in Oslo, Norway

Title: Flying Start

Why It Works

BI Norwegian’s ad for international recruitment is simply genius. I mean, just genius. It all centers around campaign sweepstakes: one of the thousands of applicants will be chosen to be in the spotlight when they get to BI Norwegian.

The chosen student will get posters with their faces on them, get introduced to important business connections around the city, and all BI students will follow them on social media. No, seriously. It turned the application process into a competition and turned out to be a killer recruitment strategy.

We don’t even have the space to list all the awards this one won, because it won like, all of them.

Clemson University in Clemson, SC

Title: The Clemson Journey

Why It Works

I can’t write a list of college vids without including my own alma mater. But I’m not being biased; seriously, just look at all our commercials and other videos. They’re so good.

While some Clemson ads focus on our crazy diehard fanbase and being part of the collective, this one singles out the journey of one student who has wanted to be a Clemson Tiger since she was a kid. (Same, girl.)

It’s a strategic way for a fairly large school to remind prospective students that, even though we’re big, we’ve got a special spot just for you. It asks, what will your Clemson Journey look like?

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Title: Anything Could Happen at Harvard

Why It Works

Harvard sheds a stuffy image with some pop music, a spotlight on the performing arts and real-life accounts from real-life students.

It’s so hard to picture yourself at Harvard, to think of it as a possibility and something worth sending in an application form, rather than as a far-off dream. But people actually go there, and you might be able to, too. That’s what this ad is saying: we’re just normal (incredibly smart) people, and that it may be different than your preconceived ideas.

New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ

Title: Martin Tuchman: Innovator, Entrepreneur, and NJIT Alum

Why It Works

You know those big transport containers that travel by train? Yeah, this guy owns like, all of those.

Marin Tuchman is an incredibly successful NJIT alum, so why not enlist his help to show prospective students what an NJIT degree can do for them? This one works because it helps the viewer picture themselves in Tuchman’s position in 50 years, being interviewed for their success since graduating NJIT.

They’re probably asking themselves: what will my success look like by then?

Northwestern University in Evanston, IL

Title: Take a Northwestern Direction

Why It Works

Northwestern’s inspiring narrative by a real-life student is combined with stunning images of their school’s campus to kick off a video that makes you want to pack up and head Northwest right away.

Midway through, we’re introduced to actual students who do some super-smart things, like programming, physics, and economics. But they’re introduced onscreen as things like Radio Host/Programmer, emphasizing students’ non-academic hobbies like art and music.

It’s almost like saying, look how diverse and talented are students are. Would you like to be a multi-talented badass, too?

Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK

Title: Orange Memories

Why It Works

I don’t care who you are, going off to college is scary. It’s exciting, yes—but you’re also leaving behind your home, your family, and often all your friends. It’s nerve-wracking.

And Oklahoma State addresses that. Their video interviews 5 people who each about what they were like as a kid and in high school and what they’re like now at OSU.

Most interviewees were shy or quiet in high school, but once they got to OSU, they’d found their home, their people, and their personalities exploded into their true form.

Oklahoma State’s message? You can be yourself here and thrive.

The Open University in Milton Keynes, England

Title: Life-changing Learning

Why It Works

A lovely song, touching family moments, and normal, real-life people fitting in their classwork while muscling through the daily grind. What’s not to love?

The Open University is for the parent, the TSA worker, the 9-to-5er, the go-getter. It’s not a party and it’s not the college experience you saw in the 80s movies, but that’s because you don’t need it. The Open is for the average working mom who wants to keep moving up in life, and this video gets that message across beautifully.

Penn State in State College, PA

Title: Home for the Holidays
Why It Works

This video works because it just feels good. A professor picking up a diverse carload of students and them humming and singing their alma mater together? Yes, please. It also sticks together because it has a great and compelling narrative structure, even for a short video. Way different than most university promo videos.

Rasmussin College in Maitland, FL

Title: History of Surgery

Why It Works

Um, this video works because it’s, you know—super cool.

Like a mix between a Dr. Seuss poem and a Tim Burton film, this EduADAward gold winning animated short dives into the gnarly and unsanitary history of surgery and ends on showing us how far we’ve come.

Everything about this video is vintage and fun, from the accordion music in the background to the black-and-white animations on the screen. It’s pleasing to listen to (it’s a rhyming poem!) and truly captivating.

It only mentions Rasmussin College at the end, a slick move that says, “We’re so confident you’ll love our video that you’ll want to find out more about the college on your own afterwards.”

University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, CA

Title: That’s Berkeley

Why It Works

Math, science, and using them to change the world. That’s what UC Berkeley’s video is all about.

We see images of students working hard in classrooms on things that go way over my head as a business major, spliced with images and footage of protests, prisoners, environmental waste, and villages stricken with poverty. There’s also footage of smiling students sprinkled throughout, which implies that each individual is responsible for positive change here.

University of Missouri—Kansas City in Kansas City, MO

Title: 2016 Graduation
Why It Works

Well, first of all, the speaker’s voice in this video is melodic as heck, and his speech is so inspirational that I want to get up and go look through a microscope or go try to invent something.

UMKC‘s video starts off with their 2016 graduation and is spliced with footage from students doing good work in the classroom, from everything to painting, ballet, drone building, and welding. It works because it begins with the end: an emotional moment at graduation, and fits in all the experience you can have at UMKC in between.

Université de Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada

Title: Français et fiers

Why It Works

Recruitment went up 22% immediately after Moncton’s Français et fiers ad (or “French and Proud” in English). It’s the college experience everyone wants: bonfires, library trysts, sports, and rock concerts. Simple, sexy, and it worked. And that’s what everyone else said, too.

University of Phoenix in Tempe, Arizona

Title: More Than Brains

Why It Works

This Phoenix 1-minute TV spot was dedicated entirely to their message that degrees from online schools are just as viable options as degrees from traditional schools.

The video, sung by a talented female vocalist, is set to images of middle-class working heroes like nurses and farmers squeezing in school work between juggling their day jobs and family.

It’s downright inspiring and says to the viewer, hey, it’s okay if you didn’t go to school right away. These people didn’t either, and now they’re working hard to get a valuable online degree. Would you like to join them?

University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA

Title: It All Comes Together Here. Commit to Pitt.

Why It Works

Look, I know it’s only 15 seconds long, but I loved it, and so did lots of other people.

University of Pitt‘s video is 15 seconds of pure hype, and now I’m so riled up that I need to get to a Pitt basketball game stat.

If you’re into sports and the typical college experience, this ad will speak to you. The slogan “Commit to Pitt” and footage of students working and cheering together emphasizes the sense of collectiveness you’ll feel (and the fun you’ll have) when you enroll at U of P.

York University in Toronto, ON, Canada

Title: Open Your Mind: Experiential Education

Why It Works

You know all those folks that say college is useless because you learn more on the job than you do in a classroom?

Well here’s York University’s response to that. Their experiential education video is simple yet beautiful: it’s simply a handful of scenes of on-hands experiences like coding, crossing a rope bridges and traveling to new places. Not a classroom in sight.

It’s not to say you’ll never step foot in a classroom when you go to York, but it is to say that you can expect a more hands-on learning experience here, a message they get across beautifully.

Western Sydney University in New South Wales, Australia

Title: Deng Thiak Adut Unlimited

Why It Works

Western Sydney’s Unlimited series focused on a handful of alumni and their journeys before, during, and after school.

And Deng Thiak Adut’s story is one worth watching. If Deng—taken from his mother, forced into war, shot in the back, smuggled from danger, self-taught in reading, and formerly homeless—can do it, so can you.

It says, look at the kind of people who go to Western Sydney. Aren’t they interesting? Aren’t they strong?

Could that be you?

These Higher Ed Videos Work

Together these videos have had over a million views on YouTube and have been responsible for better enrollment rates all around. If you’re a higher-ed marketer, which videos resonated with you? How will you make your next video project stand out?