Jewel White, who recently completed two years at Thomas Nelson Community College, looked to ZeeMee—a collegiate application aid tool—to strengthen her resume.
She said that the extra link she gave to Virginia Tech provided personal information that admissions counselors couldn’t find in the average college application.
In her minute and a half “Meet Me” video, White recounted her background as a homeless student, and how she survived her first year in community college.
“Everyone’s story is different, like me for instance, even though I came out of my first two years of college as an honor roll student, in high school I graduated with a C average,” says White. “That gave me an opportunity to tell why that was going on in my background and where I was coming from.”
Now, White has become an ambassador of sorts for ZeeMee, advising high school and community college students to use the aid to share their personalities and interests with admission offers.
“If you have something that interests other people and you feel like that’s something you want colleges to know about, definitely do that because you could be missing out on opportunities if you don’t,” she says. “I think it made it more fun, even though it was that extra step. I hadn’t ever done a video for a college application before. I got to include a photo of myself and my family.”
Adam Metcalf, co-founder and chief product officer at ZeeMee, says that he created the college application supplement to help prospective students showcase their uniqueness through “Meet Me” videos.
“The idea was that every student is so much more than a score,” says Metcalf, who started the company in 2014 with Juan Jaysingh, who currently serves as the founder and CEO. “We live in a paradigm today where everything is judged by your test scores, everything is judged by your transcripts, and we just felt like there is so much more to every student.”
Metcalf says that ZeeMee has been on the cutting edge in helping colleges and universities create more diversity within their student populations.
“One of the things that’s always been true to our mission here is really connecting students from under-resourced districts –students that are from under-represented minority groups — with opportunity,” says Metcalf.
“If you’re looking to increase diversity, you have to have that access component,” he says, adding that the use of the app is free.
Greg Zaiser, vice president of admissions and financial planning at Elon University, says that ZeeMee has proved useful on his campus.
“Changing things up and improving the admissions process is one thing that ZeeMee stands to do, and at the end of the day, the very best way to get to know a student is to hear from them,” says Zaizer. “It’s hard to forget a student who tells us something about themselves in a way that’s different than other students. ZeeMee really does bring, not just the student, but the application to life.”
Over the past year, ZeeMee has experienced exponential growth. Its number of college partners jumped from 182 in the 2016-17 academic school year to about 300 going into the 2017-2018 school year. These numbers include historically Black Colleges and Universities, private liberal arts colleges, large state schools and highly selective institutions.
The number of student users also hit a significant increase to over 20,000 students in 150 countries. ZeeMee also partnered with the Common Application, granting students the ability to simply send the link to their profile to the schools of their choice.
ZeeMee plans to introduce a 2.0 version in this month. The college application supplement will allow students to choose questions, posed by ZeeMee and colleges of their interest, that the students will answer in a 26-second video.
Students will also have the ability to match themselves with peers with similar passions and interests who have been accepted at the same schools.
In the early years, many colleges and universities resisted ZeeMee, says Metcalf, adding that some schools wondered if the app was a valid assessment tool while other schools wondered if their admissions office could handle the influx of “Meet Me” videos from thousands of applicants from across the country.
“Colleges that have given us that push back and then used ZeeMee are really thankful they did,” says Metcalf.
David Hawkins, executive director for Educational Content and Policy of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors, says that his organization partners with ZeeMee to present $20,000 in scholarships each year to “deserving students.
Darryl Isom, director of admissions and recruitment at Morehouse College says that ZeeMee has revolutionized the college admissions process. “Morehouse traditionally has a reputation of admitting diamonds in the rough.” He says.
“ZeeMee has been really helpful in finding these students where they are,” Isom adds. “By submitting a video, the students are able to formulate the message they would like for Morehouse to hear and something unique about who they are, which in many cases, they are not able to put on paper. We are really able to see what makes each individual applicant unique.”