At 2 billion subscribers YouTube continues to surge in popularity, and with over 62% of Gen Z watching daily videos on the platform, a new breed of YouTube creator has emerged—college YouTubers.
While many college-aged top YouTube stars like Brooklyn and Bailey create college-focused videos like “New College Roommates, Will We Get Along?” or Brooklyn’s New College Room Tour, college YouTubers have created their own niche category and community, one that has garnered an impressive following.
These college creators document basic class tips and survival stories —as it’s happening. Users share anything from Target hauls and move-in vlogs to “study with me” videos where they film themselves quietly studying.
Each college influencer brings a unique perspective to their school experience which resonates with Gen Z’s need to feel a connectedness as they glimpse into a YouTube influencer’s daily practices. College influencers often capture candid videos on personal topics like financial situations, roommate struggles, and even “reveal” videos where they open college acceptance letters.
College YouTubers bridge a new category between productivity and education. These videos typically invite subscribers to partake in a YouTube star’s daily habits, thus influencing viewers to adopt these same practices (and products) into their own daily routines.
A successful sponsored placement in a “college-life” video could add a new staple product to the consumer’s lineup. With digitally-savvy Gen Zers outnumbering Millennials, at about 32% of the population, brands should consider college YouTubers as valuable trendsetters on the consumer habits of the newest generation of adolescents.
Meet the most popular college YouTubers of 2020—and see why these dynamic scholars are one of a kind:
Thomas Frank originally rose to social media fame from his blog “College Info Geek.” Thomas has made a name for himself in the productivity niche as one of the largest self-improvement gurus on YouTube. He boasts almost two million subscribers and an additional podcast channel. His study tips and reading strategies aim to help students of any level, and his specialized videos distinctively separate him from fellow YouTube influencers.
One of the biggest trends in video recently is the “a day in the life of” routine-style of vlogging which features creators from various backgrounds and categories sharing their typical day with viewers. This trend has garnered over 50,000 videos so far and furthers viewers’ growing desire to watch normal people doing normal things.
ThinkwithGoogle reports that viewers tune in to watch user’s carry out mundane tasks for “company, in-depth information, and even inspiration.” As a student at Vanderbilt University, Elliot juggles his YouTube career and college classes in his “day in the life of” video which has received over 125,000 views.
Jamie Lee is the mastermind behind TheStrive Studies and TheStrive Fit YouTube channels. Collectively, the channels have over 600,000 subscribers who watch the first year emergency medicine student document her journey through medical school and watch her study. Yes, this “study with me” video is one of about 50 videos on her channel that is literally show Jamie studying at her desk for one to two hours.
The video shown has over 4 million views and is part of the “with me” video series craze where subscribers find motivation in watching YouTubers complete basic tasks. YouTube reports a two-fold increase in “study with me” videos while GoogleTrends shows a surge in popularity for the search term as well.
Sienna Santer is a college YouTuber/influencer at Harvard who enjoys making learning/reflection videos about her college experiences and often collaborates with other college YouTubers. She has over 20 million views on her channel since joining in 2014 and has partnered with notable brands like Glossier, FabFitFun, Amazon, Fabletics, Google, and more.
Katie studies computer science at Cornell University and is not afraid to share personal experiences with her followers on her college channel. In one of her recent videos, Katie shares her thoughts on loneliness in her studies abroad, and her battle with insecurities and imposter syndrome.
Her video comments shows that her nearly 171,000 online subscribers appreciate the relatability and rawness of her content.
Annmarie Chase is a well-known college YouTuber attending the University of Southern California. Her content showcases her life as a student and member of the Greek community. Her channel follows the common college YouTuber characteristic of authenticity as most of her videos are personal vlogs.
With an estimated 44% of all internet users watching a vlog each month, it’s no surprise that 138,000 people tune in to watch her share her confessions and college experiences.
Gracie O’Connor is a very involved college student whose channel has a notable focus on her sorority experience at the University of Alabama. Gracie’s video views are impressive— with only 66,200 subscribers she averages 54,000 views per upload making her a mid-tier creator with enviable engagement.
Florida college student Melissa Lucy is a vlogger and chemistry student living out the most personal aspects of her life as a YouTube star. her channel is filled with daily life vlogs and she discusses how she finds balance in juggling her future career with her passion as a YouTuber.
While Melissa plans to focus on a science career, studies show that 75% of children ages 6 to 17 dream of becoming a YouTuber for a living, with one in five planning to start their own channel.
As a student at the University of Florida, nano-creator Brittany Lewis shares college-centered videos with a slight focus on fashion and social events. Her channel features college outfit hauls, game-day looks and much more.
Amanda is a UCLA college YouTuber with over 200 “Follow Me Around Campus” and “Q and A” videos to prove it. Her videos on her university experience have generated over 4 million views so far. Amanda has recently graduated but has maintained creating videos centered around post-grad life.
Catherine gained recognition as a college influencer when her “Day in a Life of a Stanford Student” video went viral nearly two years ago. Catherine shows viewers an inside look at what the typical college experience is like at Stanford through her dedicated channel that features hundreds of college topics.
College “reaction” videos are a controversial trend where hopeful high school students open all of their college admission decision letters at once on camera. Nina is an MIT student who now has 26,000 subscribers all thanks to her reaction video that has received over 1.5 million views to date. She discusses organization hacks, admission tips, and other college advice to MIT and Ivy League hopefuls.