by Kiley Thompson, Vice President, Marketing
Are you on ZeeMee? Have you even heard of ZeeMee?
ZeeMee is a college admissions specific social media tool, allowing a student to create a multimedia profile about themselves to be viewed by counselors.
At this writing, over 220 colleges and universities and 15,000 high schools partner with ZeeMee, so there’s a good chance you or your student already is, or about to be, on the ZeeMee bandwagon.
But is adding another social media platform to your portfolio a good decision? What does it help? Could it hurt? And most importantly, how is it used by admissions counselors?
What is ZeeMee and how is it different from other social media platforms?
Smart College Visit sat down with Adam Metcalf, co-founder and chief product officer for ZeeMee, in Redwood City, Calif. to find out ZeeMee’s mission. Simply, ZeeMee works to empower all students to bring their story to life for life-changing opportunities.
Adam, who started his career in high school education, says he was very aware of the “pain point around the application process.”
College applications “are so two-dimensional,” he says. “They look at SAT scores, they look at transcripts, and oftentimes, students become a mere number. We wanted to celebrate the fact that students are more than their score. They are much more than what the quantitative data indicates.”
“We want to celebrate their story, and allow every student to know their own value and self-worth. For the generation that shares over a billion photos a day on Snapchat, they really felt like they were being robbed in their ability to truly express themselves in the application process,” he says.
Adam stresses that it’s important for ZeeMee to have colleges who believe in this vision, and buy into this new way to review applications. Otherwise, it’s difficult to convince high school counselors or students even to use it. “They wanted validation that it was something colleges wanted,” he says. “So, it’s important that universities are willing to innovate and say ‘we do value your story and we want you to be able to bring that to life in our application.’”
Currently, an estimated 2,000 students a day are creating ZeeMee profiles for their college applications.
How colleges and universities are using ZeeMee
Rebekah LaPlante, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Virginia Tech, is excited to partner with ZeeMee to offer students an additional way to share information — something that’s been denied to them previously.
“Students have asked us over the years if there’s a way to send in more supplemental information with their applications, and we’ve always said no, there’s not. The application has been the only way to get us information. It’s been really old-fashioned,” says Rebekah.
Now, the addition of ZeeMee profiles is changing how counselors review and inform themselves about students. “When we pull up the student’s stats, we have the ZeeMee URL right in front of us,” she says. “We’ve told our counselors, when you’re looking at the applications, you’re getting all these demographics and general facts, transcripts and test scores. We have all the quantitative data to help us know how prepared the student may be. But we’re continuing to use an expanded holistic review.”
And that’s where ZeeMee profiles fit in. She continues, “If students feel like there’s other things they want to tell us that didn’t have a space to do on the application, or a project or something they’re really passionate about, if they want to do something like a completely optional ZeeMee page, it’s an opportunity for them to tell us more.” Students aren’t using ZeeMee to highlight already shared application information; instead, they’re making them more personal and rounding out their stories.
How long does it take to put together a ZeeMee profile?
Profiles are very photo-heavy, so it’s really about choosing the best images to show a student’s life.
Adam says they’ve seen students build a really solid page in 30 minutes. “If they are going to add a Meet Me video, it can take longer. ZeeMee isn’t coaching anyone on how to create a page; we want students to make an authentic, real page, and adding a video is a 30 second – 1 minute introduction on who they are. It doesn’t have to be the most creative video of all time. We emphasize that this is a simple way to introduce themselves in a video format.”
What about privacy issues?
Parents who have concerns about privacy can rest easy. ZeeMee profiles can be made private and unsearchable online; only those with the link will be able to see them. There’s no posting into a feed or any method to comment or say anything negative about the student user. “It’s very positive social media,” says Adam.
“For the parents who have concern about privacy issues, definitely make the page private. But know that if it is public, there’s nothing that someone can do [to the page] like on Facebook, or Instagram or other platforms.”
So, what is SCV’s best recommendation? Using ZeeMee to highlight your personal story can’t hurt. It could even be a fun, personal part of the application process.
Finally, Adam says “people come into it with the mentality of ‘oh no, one more thing.’ But every single student we’ve talked to feel a sense of relief. They’re thankful for the platform to express themselves.”