We’ve previously written about how Goucher College, a private liberal arts college in Baltimore, Maryland, is going transcript-free. That’s right. They’re not requiring applicants to submit high school transcripts. Oh and forget test scores or college essays. Goucher instead made the radical move to require only a video of applicants. We made our opinion known that we think Goucher’s decision to require a video of students in lieu of these requirements can be harmful for many reasons (e.g., a video is completely biased — admissions officers could judge students now based on their physical appearance, admissions officers won’t know if students can write well if they don’t see samples of their writing, etc.). We have a strong feeling that this is an experimental year for Goucher College’s admissions office and that by this time next year, they’ll have reverted back to essays. We deeply suspect this is not going to turn out well for Goucher.
Anyhow, at least the school is getting some publicity for the move, possibly a key reason why they chose to institute the video in lieu of other admissions requirements (more applications, anyone?). In a feature today in “The New York Times” entitled “Colleges Make It Easier for Students to Show, Not Tell, in Their Applications,” the new president of Goucher College, Jose A. Bowen, states, “‘This is an experiment, and there are plenty of reasonable objections,’ he said. ‘We’re going to track these students, and we’ll really know in a year. If the kids who did video apps do worse than others, we’ll stop. If they do just as well or better, colleges around the country will be doing it.'” It sure sounds like the move of a new president looking to shake things up.
By the way, Mr. Bowen, great college admissions essays do show rather than tell. To show rather than tell in the form of writing is an art form. To show rather than tell in video messages isn’t exactly as impressive to us. Perhaps instead of requiring videos of students, Goucher students should get an education in how to show rather than tell in their writing. The vast majority of college applicants to highly selective colleges tell rather than show in their college essays. But not our students. We teach them how to show rather than tell. It’s a big part of what we do at Ivy Coach.
Interested in showing rather than telling in your college admissions essays? Contact us today to get started working with us.