There has been a lot of talk about the new video application. High school students will now, in lieu of an application with a transcript of their accomplishments and challenges in high school, be able to submit a two minute video responding to the prompt, “How do you see yourself at Goucher?” along with two academic works, only one of which needs to be graded. I feel that this new “selfie app” is not at all a step in the right direction, and ultimately will be detrimental to the value of the education here at Goucher.
My first issue is what this reflects about José Bowen’s attention. I understand that this is his first semester here, but the video app shows his first priority has been with increasing admissions, not towards the retention rate of his students. I’m a sophomore, and my class has had nearly 20% of students transfer or withdraw. Attention should have first been given towards the students already on campus instead of the gophers who might never be.
A large reason people leave Goucher is that it’s an expensive school. We had tuition hike this semester and the school is still in debt. This video application has been discussed as a way to increase diversity among our students on the socio-economic level. The line of thinking is that students who don’t have the resources to handle a large multi-faceted college application can just submit a video. Yet financial aid policies are remaining the same, so how will Goucher be more appealing to less economically advantaged students? We’re still just as expensive, and the app has the same $55 application fee.
I’m quite aware that high school is not the best indicator of success. I went to the largest public high school in the country (Brooklyn Technical High School with a student population of 8000) which was notoriously understaffed and overstuffed. It was the least productive atmosphere I could imagine. Students fell through the cracks of administration all the time, and college prep was so far down on the list of priorities that the only time I met with my college advisor was when I had already submitted my applications. So yes, I get it, high school sucks. But it’s still the only real indicator of academic success admissions has at this point of our education. A holistic approach needs to be taken, but that’s what essays, letters of recommendations, and personal statements are for. I wouldn’t even be opposed to adding the video component, but in addition to a traditional application, not instead of actual academic indicators.
One thing this video app has already achieved is it got Goucher on the map. We’ve had slews of reports, articles and websites mention our new direction in college applications. We’re a tiny school – we need the publicity. However, I would argue all press is not good press, and being nationally recognized for a “selfie app” is not something I want Goucher to be proud of. Future employers might see “Goucher College” on a transcript and, having only heard of Goucher through this news coverage, be wary of what type of education I received at Goucher College. I love Goucher, but I feel the video app was a PR stunt that’s sending admissions in the wrong direction.