Video Essays
  • 13 Mar 2024
  • 3 minute read
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Video Essays

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  • PDF

Article Summary

Video essays and video interviews can be used within Slate to screen applicants for personality, extemporaneous speaking, and English language capabilities. 

Depending on your institution's desired level of involvement with rating English language capabilities, there are some external vendors with Slate integrations that offer one or more of the following additional features: English language skill scoring, proctored writing samples, and in-person, videotaped interviews. These vendors include  DuolingoInitialView, and  Vericant. If your institution is interested in using one or more vendors that integrate with Slate, the above linked articles offer more information about the integrations. 

Slate video essays can be made available within a Slate-hosted application or as a link from the applicant status page. Video essays can be captured for any applicant type, even if the applicant submitted an application via an external application (e.g., The Common Application).


The video essay is recorded and uploaded over the internet, and videos require significantly more bandwidth than just text. As such, a reliable, high-speed internet connection is required for the applicant to successfully complete the video essay. Applicants should play back their video essays after the upload completes to confirm that the video uploaded successfully.

Browser Support

Slate video essays are captured using WebRTC, which is an open source framework for the web supported by Google, Mozilla, and Opera. The API and its underlying protocols are being developed jointly at the W3C and IETF. WebRTC removes the need for Adobe Flash, which is a technology that is incompatible with mobile devices. 

WebRTC is currently supported by the most commonly used browsers. such as:

  • Google Chrome & Chrome OS

  • Mozilla Firefox & Firefox OS

  • Safari & IOS

  • Opera (desktop & Android)

  • Microsoft Edge

Applicant Experience

Applicants are able to access the video essay page either through the application menu (for unsubmitted Slate-hosted applications) or via a link from the status page, which is typically configured as a checklist item but may also be included within a static content block.

Test Recording

  • The video essay page provides applicants with the ability to perform a test recording. This allows applicants to ensure that their webcams and microphones are working as desired prior to recording their actual video essay.

  • Applicants who are using an unsupported browser will receive an "Unsupported Browser message.

  • Applicants who are using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox will be prompted to  Allow the browser to use their camera and microphone when opening the recording interface for the first time. 

  • If a webcam and microphone are both enabled, the applicant will be able to click the  Ready button to begin the test recording. 

Then, the following instructions are displayed:

After the test, the applicant is able to review the test recording. The applicant can make any number of test attempts by using the  start over link. Once the applicant is ready, the applicant can choose to proceed with the real recording.

Start Recording

Applicants will then receive a random question/prompt from the question bank. The applicant will have time to prepare a response before the recording automatically begins. The preparation time is fully customizable within the Application Editor. The applicant is able to begin recording earlier by clicking the Start Recording button. 

The maximum recording length can be configured within the Application Editor. Applicants can use the Stop Recording button to stop the recording early. 

  • Applicants are able to delete and retry the video essay a specified number of times by clicking the  start over link. Starting over will repeat the test recording as well. 

  • If the applicant chooses to start over, the previously recorded video will be deleted.

  • The applicant must confirm and provide a typed confirmation of intent to start over.

Recording Attempts

If an applicant has used all available attempts, and your institution has decided to allow the applicant to start over, this can be accomplished by using the  delete the video link while administratively impersonating the applicant. 

Administrative Experience

Users are able to view Slate video essays within the Reader.  Note: Different web browsers have different video control toolbars. The screenshot above was taken using Google Chrome.

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