Best Kept College Secrets

Colleges for Real People

Why Would A College Accept Application by Video? Future of College Admissions?

In a very interesting marketing/opening-up-access move, GOUCHER COLLEGE (currently profiled in America’s Best Kept College Secrets) has offered potential applicants an opportunity to simplify and personalize the application process.  A recent story on APM’s Marketplace quoted Goucher’s president, Jose Antonio Bowen:

“There are tens of thousands of high school seniors each year that do not apply to any selective liberal arts college, like Goucher College, despite the fact that they have great SATs and they have transcripts and they would get in.”

Tufts has welcomed video presentations for years as part of an applicant’s admissions portfolio, and Bard College shook up the application process last season by offering an essay-only exam, hoping to attract able (and maybe a bit “quirky”) students who don’t mind writing but who do find the tedious fill-in-the-blank process dehumanizing and annoying.  The Goucher initiative is interesting in that it both simplifies and ostensibly personalizes the process, perhaps attracting students to the college and giving them a sense that their media-savvy experience is valued.

Pick up the phone, video – chat for a few minutes, and send it on to Goucher as a virtual essay, send a transcript, add a couple of samples of high school work, and la voila, application finished.

This won’t be the last of the video app offerings; the college-bound boomlet is trickling down year-by-year, and colleges continue to measure their worth by the number of applicants they attract.  The challenge for all colleges is in identifying and attracting aspirants who are not already in the pool.  Making the process easier is part of the strategy – personalizing is the more effective ploy.

Those of us who have seen tuitions climb everywhere are aware that many of widely admired public institutions are now almost as expensive for out-of-staters as their independent cohorts – $51,376.00 at the University of Vermont, for example.  For fifty grand, a family might want personal attention.  Furthermore, the private colleges, for the most part, have been fund-raising in order to support financial aid and are more likely to come up with a generous award (OK, a marginally more generous award).

In any case, kudos to Goucher and best wishes to those phoning in a video.


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