Goucher College, a small liberal arts college in Maryland, has gone transcript optional. The college announced the change on their website on Wednesday. Instead of submitting the traditional application materials, such as the high school transcript, students can choose to submit a two-minute video about attending the college. The college has been test-optional since 2007.
As many colleges are moving towards being test-optional, Goucher is the first college to remove the transcript requirement for consideration for admission to the institution. Goucher President José A. Bowen, Ph.D. said in the statement, “we believe students are more than the numbers and other data on their academic records.”
If students choose to use the Goucher Video Application, they will need to submit a short video, digital application, $55 application fee or waiver, signed statement of academic integrity and two works from high school, including a graded writing assignment. The video should tell the college about the student and how they will fit into the Goucher community. Goucher still offers a traditional application for students who want to submit their academic records.
Goucher College has always used a holistic approach to evaluating applicants. However, numbers were always included in the decision process. Professor of Chemistry Scott Sibley, Ph.D. says, “We want students who are strong academically, obviously.” However, the institution knows most Goucher students have strong second interests. The video allows students to explain how they will fit into the Goucher community academically and socially.
College admissions can be quite intimidating and confusing for students, and submitting a short video as the main part of the application can make it even more confusing. However, Goucher has provided an evaluation rubric explaining what they are looking for from students. They have also produced several videos that explain the Goucher Video Application. While the videos do not show examples of what they are looking for, they do explain why they are making the change and some hints for successful videos.
President Bowen explains Goucher is “doing this because higher education should be about potential and not about privilege.” Students who choose to submit the Goucher Video Application instead of the traditional application materials will be eligible for need-based financial aid. However, students who are interested in merit scholarships must submit their high school transcript as well.
The Goucher Video Application is live on the Goucher website. Students wishing to apply to Goucher for the 2015-2016 academic year are welcome to apply for admission now. The video application is due by the early action (non-binding) deadline of December 1.