How to Win the Best School Year Ever Contest

With the deadline to enter our Best School Year Ever video contest fast approaching, we want to help boost your chances of winning the once-in-a-lifetime boarding prize (valued at $50,000) by offering some advice.

We know it may seem overwhelming to cram everything you want into a 2-3 minute video, so we enlisted the help of last year’s winner, Santiago Mazoy, to give you some tips to make your video stand out. He created an exceptional and engaging video recorded on his bedroom computer – so if anyone knows how to make a great video, it’s him. Take a look at the quick tips video above and read more below!

Here are his tips to making a great video:

  • Be yourself – There’s no such thing as our “ideal candidate”. The only “ideal” we’re looking for is someone who is completely genuine in their video. We want your personality (your enthusiasm, your sense of humour, your passion) to come through, because we want to know that you’ll be a great fit at SMUS. Watch how runner-up Alessandra Massa pulls you in to her entry video with her infectious spirit.
  • Narrow your ideas down – There’s a lot that you may want to tell us, but trying to fit it all into a short video just isn’t going to work. Plan ahead and decide which few points are the most important to touch on. Don’t feel the need to over-share (we’ll get to know you better when you’re here on campus!).
  • Be creative – Above anything else, the best way for you to stand out is to make your video unique and totally different. What might that look like? Surprise us!BSYE-Logo-2015 trans
  • Don’t read from a script – It’s hard to be yourself and feel comfortable when you’re reading from a set of notes. Practice what you want to say before you start filming to become familiar with the points you want to make, but let the words flow naturally when you record.
  • Record in a quiet, clean place – We want your video to speak for itself. Having outside distractions that prevent us from being able to hear make it difficult for us to judge the content of your video.
  • Think visually – Part of being creative and making your video stand out among the rest is ensuring you’ve put some thought into what you want to show in your video. Santiago’s winning entry video included photos and video that complemented what he was talking about.
  • Do what makes you comfortable – There isn’t a right way or a wrong way to make your video. If you’re not comfortable in front of the camera, you don’t need to be. If you’re a strong writer, there are ways to incorporate writing into your video. As long as your video allows us to get to know you and your strengths, that’s okay. Last year’s runner-up, Silke Kuhn, did very little talking directly to the camera in her fantastic entry video.
  • Make sure your video meets our requirements – We’re not asking for much. We have a few things we really want you to touch on in your video (Tell us about yourself; What would make 2015-2016 your best school year ever?; What do you like most about school?; Why would you be a great addition to the SMUS community?) – answering those, at the very least, will paint us a great picture of who you are.
  • Show it to your friends and family – Let them watch it and provide feedback. Make some changes, and have them watch it again until you feel it’s great!
  • Get someone to help you film – If possible, get someone else to shoot your video because it gives you one less thing to have to think about. It allows you to work collaboratively through the process, get immediate feedback, and the filming will go quicker.
  • Don’t leave it until the last minute – The contest deadline is midnight (Pacific) on January 12, 2015. That leaves you plenty of time to plan, shoot, edit and upload the video. Don’t procrastinate; you’ll make a video you’re happier with if you give yourself more time to work on it.

Don’t forget that you also need to submit your TWO most recent report cards when you apply online.

And make sure your video is uploaded as either Public or Unlisted. We won’t be able to watch it if the settings are set to Private (even if you send us the link).

Do you still have questions about the Best School Year Ever contest? You can get in touch with us in any of the following ways:

We’re looking forward to seeing your video, and hopefully seeing you on our campus in the very near future!


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