Video apps a folly solution

Goucher College went too far with their drastic revision to the school’s application process.

The Baltimore college will permit applicants to submit a video of themselves and some samples of their high school work, instead of transcripts and standardized test scores. The intention behind the new process, according to Goucher’s president, is to reduce bias and to provide equal opportunities, as not all high school students have a laptop or the means to write an admission essay.

This rationale is flawed. If a student is unable to find a way to write an essay in high school — on paper or a free library computer — how are they going to write essays in university?

Overall, having a video as the primary form of application is a poor idea. Transcripts that represent years of work can’t be replaced by a short video, especially when a personal video doesn’t help gauge a student’s ability to perform in university.

Video applications would only exacerbate issues of bias. Putting a face to a name immediately creates an unavoidable inclination within the admissions officer. This would only be worsened by other factors, such as the applicant’s acting ability, attractiveness or race, as well as the quality of the video — which will diverge based on a student’s budget.

If equal opportunity and access to education are Goucher’s major concerns, introducing video applications is a poor means of addressing these systemic issues.

The video has the potential to act as a supplement rather than as a replacement, similarly to Queen’s Personal Statement of Experience essay, which allows for a more well-rounded application. The same can be said of the samples of work applicants submit to Goucher. If these samples were in addition to other papers, the result would be much more reflective of a student’s abilities.

Judging by Goucher’s 16 per cent acceptance rate, the college is likely hoping that more students will apply with the simpler application process. By making applying easier, though, all Goucher will do is contributing to the influx of students aimlessly applying to university.

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