Optional Video Response

This isn't an audition, a performance, or an interview—it's just an introduction.

Bowdoin offers applicants the option to record a short, spontaneous video response to supplement their application materials.

The video response is completely optional and affords you the opportunity to add a different dimension to your application.

And unlike the countless hours you've put into completing the rest of your college applications, there's no need for preparation, studying, or editing

What is the purpose of the video? How is it evaluated in conjunction with the rest of my application? 

With the video response, you get to offer a bit of insight into you and your experiences. Respond just as you would answer a question from someone you’ve just met. We’re not critiquing your conversational skills. We’re not bothered by "ums" or "ahs", or the laundry on your bed, or the need to take a moment to think and redirect your answer. We care about what makes you excited, what you experience in your day-to-day life, and the way in which you would normally express yourself! 

Hear what the dean of admissions wants you to know about the video response—why you might want to do it, why you don't need to worry about saying "um" or "ah", and why you'll definitely know the answer to the question you receive.

Students in order of appearance: Jackson Coyle '23 (Boise, Idaho); Lilo Bean '23 (Bethel, Maine); Keyna Mecias Quinonez '23 (Brooklyn, New York); Jon Miller '23 (Iola, Kansas); Khalil Jackson '23 (Byram, Mississippi); Meg Weinstock '23 (Davidson, North Carolina)

How does it work?

  • Once you've submitted your application materials, the link to record your video response will available in your Bowdoin Application Portal (this will open to applicants in late October 2020).
  • First, you'll be required to test your equipment (see the tech requirements below) to make sure everything is working properly.
  • Then, you will receive a randomly selected question, like, "Tell us how you would like to spend your birthday," or, "What’s the best thing that’s happened to you in the last year?"
  • You have 30 seconds to think, and then: recording begins!
  • You can record an answer up to two minutes long, but you don’t need to use every second; you can end the recording at any time.
  • Afterward, you will have the opportunity to review—but not edit or re-record—your submitted video response.
Take a tour through the entire video response process so you'll know exactly what to expect. This 2-minute video covers how to test your equipment, how to record your response, and how to start over if you want a second try.

What if I’m unhappy with my video response?

If you are unhappy with your first video response, you have the option to record a second one that will ask you a different question. If you choose to record a second response, the first video will be deleted and cannot be recovered. The second response will automatically become the video submitted for review and cannot be deleted.

What if I get the question wrong?

There are no wrong answers to these questions! We're asking you to reflect on your own lived experience—so put down the bibliography or the graphing calculator, because you won't need any outside sources or information. There are no trick questions, or questions based on your knowledge of a particular topic. 

What are the technology requirements?

You will need access to a computer, tablet, or phone with a camera, microphone, and internet connection to complete the video response. Your school or local library may have the technology necessary to complete the video response. Please use the most recent versions of the following browsers for recording the video response:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Firefox

If you have any technical issues with the video response, please email admissions@bowdoin.edu.

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