Video applications skyrocket university admissions

Goucher College’s innovative video application process has proven to be a major success. What are their best practices and what kind of students did they attract?

video-admissions-work-311Does your institution think video admissions are just a flash in the pan gimmick? Well, it might be time to reconsider that stance. One of the first colleges to utilize video submissions as a decisive factor in their admissions process has just completed their risky experiment; and according to not only student feedback but hard data, it was an innovation that paid off big-time.

Launched last September, Baltimore, Maryland-based Goucher College became the nation’s first college to offer self-produced video as the crux of their admission decision through their Goucher Video App. For students applying via the GVA, all they needed to submit was the two-minute video, a brief application form, a signed statement of academic integrity, and two works of scholarship.

“We wanted to do something bold…and find a different way to access a student’s potential to achieve in college,” said Christopher Wild, an admissions counselor and project manager who  worked with the GVA from its inception to reviewing the applications. “Video is a great way to get to know students and learn who they are in a way that is comfortable for their generation.”

The project was envisioned by new President José Antonio Bowen as an alternative admissions process that would focus on potential and negate socioeconomic inequities that often perpetuate the traditional system of test scores. And, while it was predicted that the application would likely attract many prospective students thanks to its technological innovation and new focus on student potential vs. GPA, Goucher found the response to be better than anticipated.

By the December 1 deadline, 64 video applications were submitted by students from over 60 high schools in 20 states across the nation and the students who applied via the Goucher Video App represented almost 30 intended majors that extended beyond traditional Arts & Humanities majors; including communications, biology, pre-med, business management, and international studies. These applications helped make up the highest number of Early Action applications in Goucher’s history.

“We took a risk with the Goucher Video App, and we are optimistic it is paying off,” said Bowen. “At the very least, we have introduced a bold new idea that distinguishes Goucher, and we have helped start an important discussion about repairing the broken college admissions process. We also have attracted an impressive number of students with high potential and an ability to thrive at our college.”

(Next page: Goucher’s recommended best practices)