“I am more than just a number,” is a phrase uttered by students at Goucher College, a liberal arts school in Baltimore. This year, Goucher is giving its applicants the opportunity to prove that they are more than their test scores and high school transcripts by doing away with them entirely, in favor of a two-minute video application.
Along with a short standard application and a graded writing assignment, the video is open to any format or content that the student feels best represents them. This innovative application model was enacted in response to a movement as many colleges are adopting test-optional policies or even rejecting any test scores they receive, a policy employed by Hampshire College of Amherst, Massachusetts.
This new application has the potential to transform the hectic college application process while neutralizing the skewed nature of the traditionally test-reliant application. Goucher President Jose Antonio Bowen feels that underprivileged students do not have the resources available that more advantaged applicants have regarding test prep and application knowledge.
Tufts University grabbed the nation’s attention when they allowed students to supplement an application with a YouTube video. However, Goucher is the first to completely unseat the application process with a video.
Video format is also used to balance the inequality found in the application process as many students have access to video technology. However, taking a note from Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde” won’t get you very far. By encouraging students to use simple means such as cellphone video and webcams to submit their applications, Goucher emphasizes that technical quality is not a factor in admissions decisions.
While Hampshire College similarly justifies its test score policy, the school also feels test scores are an inadequate predictor of academic success. A study released by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling found that between students whose admissions decision was contingent on test scores and those who weren’t, there was only five-one hundredths of a point difference in GPA, and six-tenths of one percent in graduation rates.
USF follows a traditional application process including standardized test scores, transcripts and a recommended essay, but adjusting to the times could encourage more students to apply and increase diversity within the school. Goucher College’s new admissions process may be seen as a bold move, but future students could be putting down the No. 2 pencil and pressing the record button.
Brandon Shaik is a senior majoring in psychology.