How does YouTube play into your enrollment marketing strategy? Sure, you can slap a commercial for your school onto your YouTube channel and call it a day, but prospective students want more. When it comes to higher education, students have more choices than ever.

Today’s high school students are super Internet savvy, meaning their research isn’t limited to your website and campus tour. According to a Zinch study, 42% of teens use YouTube for researching colleges. And what they find on social media matters, 38% of those surveyed said it played a critical role in making their final school selection.

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The key to having your YouTube channel be more than a bunch of boring commercials is to add that secret sauce that makes your school awesome. Need some inspiration? I’ve got you. Listed in no particular order are five schools that are rockin’ on YouTube.

1. New York University

Could NYU be anymore New York? Its #nyustyle: Fall 2015 video highlights fashion looks from the first week of school. When it comes to school choice, prospective students value culture and environment. With this video, NYU is highlighting its uniqueness to urbanites and wannabe urbanites alike who can’t wait to take the Big Apple by storm.

It’s clear NYU knows what makes it special and its target demographic. Like most university YouTube pages, NYU showcases student life and its academics, but stands out with its portrayal of student culture and the biggest character of all, New York City.

2. Mount Holyoke

Thanks to the Great Recession, the liberal arts education has been under attack. With student debt levels rising and critics arguing about the value of non-STEM majors, students and parents alike want to be able to get a good education that leads to a good job. Mount Holyoke’s Classroom Experience videos demonstrate how liberal arts classes can be practically applied to a job.

What’s better than a school that offers a great education and gets the demand of the real world? Aside from free tuition, not too much else.

3. Howard University

Howard’s YouTube channel doesn’t just focus on its class offerings or why students choose HU. This channel does a great job of showcasing that Howard isn’t confined to a campus, rather it extends far beyond that into the news. Whether the subject is about the rise in salt intake in children or the unrest of Ferguson, there is an expert from Howard leading the conversation. By having this content on their YouTube channel, Howard doesn’t have to hope prospective students will see the coverage because it’s all housed in one place.

Prospective students also get the opportunity to see everyday college students work to change the world. One clip features Howard students who decided to forgo a tropical spring break and instead went to Chicago to help combat the gun violence infecting the neighborhood streets.

Howard lets the news do the talking for them, giving the school third party validation. Unlike professors or students, the media has no obligation to Howard, and coverage like this can be powerful to prospective students.

Tip: Repurpose your media coverage and include it in your newsletter to increase its reach and impact.

4. Stanford University

In case you didn’t know, if your school creates a self-driving DeLorean, you put it on YouTube. Great job, Stanford! YouTube is great for showing, rather than just telling your school’s story. Stanford showing its cutting-edge projects allows prospective students to visualize their future at the school.

Located in the Silicon Valley, Stanford positions itself as the place to be if you want to be in the center of the technology revolution. It’s Beyond the Classroom series features Stanford research projects like high altitude shooting rockets. In other words, tons of cool stuff.

5. The University of Texas at Austin

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including The University of Texas at Austin’s YouTube channel. The page features student entries from its film contest, inventors of the year, and the hidden gems of UT (since the campus is so big). This channel takes the cake for having a wide variety of great content. What makes this page stand out is how they repurposed one of UT’s commencement addresses, from Admiral McRaven, into mini lessons.

Between tips like the importance of making your bed, singing in the mud and sliding head first, Admiral McRaven’s messages integrate nicely with UT’s channel. From these videos, prospective students get great advice and understand the university’s environment before even stepping onto campus.

How will you make your YouTube channel stand out?

YouTube isn’t the only way your school can leverage social channels. Learn why your events calendar should be social, too.

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