How a Digital Portfolio Can Help Your Child Stand Out in College Admissions

Student Graduates High School

This guest post was written by Adam Metcalf of the free app ZeeMee.

Your child is more than a test score.

As parents, we all know this to be true. Our kids are way more than their test scores, their grades, and their 2-dimensional application to college. Even if those scores are amazing and their transcripts are incredible, there is much more to their unique story. And colleges need to hear it.

An Antiquated Admissions Process

When I was a high school teacher, I became frustrated with a system and a paradigm that relied so heavily on an antiquated application process. We live in the 21st century. Our kids live on Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. And yet, there was no good way for students to showcase anything visually in their college application.

Not satisfied with the status quo, myself and my business partner went on to launch a free digital portfolio for students to add to their college applications called ZeeMee. Today, close to 150 colleges on the Common App ask for a visual portfolio of some type and many more ask for it in other applications.

So, What is a Digital Portfolio?

Think of a digital portfolio as an online tool that helps students tell the story of who they are in an interactive way. Through videos, images, and documents, students can highlight aspects of themselves that aren’t captured through test scores or essays.

For example, your child could create a video explaining their character strengths and a development plan for the future. They could post images of their community service project with an explanation of why that was important to them. They might even want to showcase a talent through a short clip.

It’s also a great idea for students to start creating their digital portfolios early in high school so they can capture their growth throughout the years. However, it’s not too late for seniors to spend some time creating a basic portfolio before they apply to colleges.

Stand Out From the Crowd

At the most selective colleges, we discovered that only 15% at most would submit their ZeeMee in the application. That means that 85% of students at the very least are not submitting portfolios to the colleges they are applying to. Most institutions receive digital portfolios from less than 5% of applicants.

Am I saying that a digital portfolio is the golden ticket to admission? Not at all. But I am saying that a student vastly sets themselves apart from the herd by doing a little bit of extra work. To build a portfolio or share a video introduction of themselves on YouTube is an excellent way to stand-out and express themselves freely. This is especially true if they are applying for scholarships or money, where often a decision is made by a committee reviewing each applicant.

Showcase the Whole Child with a Digital Portfolio

There is no guarantee a college will look at a portfolio. But, your child feels like they were able to truly express their identity, which in the end alleviates a lot of the stress and anxiety in the process, because they are no longer just representing one small fraction of who they are.

In addition, most admissions counselors reading applications have just graduated from college and clicking a link to watch a video and see photos is far more preferable than the excruciating drudgery of working through 2-dimensional applications.

Finally, whether they use ZeeMee, YouTube or some other platform, I highly recommend that students take the time to build a digital portfolio. If your child has spent the last 18 years of their life working up to this point, you better believe it is worth adding a little extra time to put their best foot forward. 

ESC Region 13 was not compensated for nor officially sponsors the products presented in this post.

Learn more about the free ZeeMee app!

Adam is the co-founder of ZeeMee, a free app that allows students to showcase photos and videos of themselves for college admission applications.

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