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How to make a video worth a $40,000 UD scholarship

9:48 AM  Jun 23rd, 2011
by Sara Dorn ’12

Incoming first-year student Amanda Morel didn’t have any experience with video until she produced one that landed her a $40,000 UD scholarship. The aspiring high school math teacher won enrollment management’s video contest, “Your Question, Your Mark.” Her burning question: “What factors promote long-term retention in the American high school’s mathematics classroom?”

Winning was sweet — “I thought ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to be a Flyer,’” she said — but what made her video stand out? Morel has five tips she swears by.

1. Captivate Honesty was the best policy when asking her peers about math. “So many times students truly don’t like math, so I told them to just be honest,” she said. Morel is a natural star, too, with an obvious passion for teaching math.

2. Be concise Her original question was “What factors promote retention in the classroom?” but she narrowed in on high school mathematics. “You have to get really specific, don’t be too detailed and get to the point,” she said. And keep it under five minutes.

3. Perfect audio is a must Morel shot her video without a tripod. Luckily she has a friend who can edit video. Finding clear sound clips without the sounds of a high school hallway in the background was a challenge, but upbeat, subtle music complements the tone of the video.

4. Smooth moves Morel used creative transitions with music between student interviews, shots of classrooms and clips of her speaking. She also used a chalkboard-like font to emphasize points, introduce topics and cite her sources.

5. Variety show Morel featured dozens of students narrowed down from a massive pool of interviews done during study hall periods. “I got a wide range of classrooms,” she said. “I wanted to get the entire high school, different teachers and different teaching techniques. I went to classes ranging from transitional algebra to AP statistics.”

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