Service of Student Coddling on Steroids
September 18th, 2014
NPR’s coverage of Goucher College’s innovative application process was an eye-opener and not in a good way.
Juana Summers, in “Lights, Camera College? Goucher College Introduces Video Applications,” wrote “Goucher College, a liberal arts school in Baltimore, is offering students the opportunity to skip submitting standardized SAT and ACT scores, as well as the traditional college application packet that includes a transcript, letters of recommendation and essays. Instead, students can apply with a self-produced, two-minute video that explains how they see themselves thriving at Goucher, and why they want to go there. Students are also asked to submit two ‘works of scholarship.’”
Summers reports that the president hopes to increase “diverstiy of thought” and, she posits, add to the number of applicants and the student body. She quoted Cornell professor and former Tufts dean of arts and sciences, Robert Sternberg, who agrees with the concept of “overhauling a college admissions process that he says lacks creativity and doesn’t serve students well…But, he warned, video applications might backfire for some students. ‘It puts an emphasis on how well you perform for a camera,’ says Sternberg, the author of College Admissions for the 21st Century. ‘Unfortunately, people can’t help things like interpersonal skills and attractiveness.’”
Will cushioning students’ path to college entrance help them in equally stressful internship and job searches and the inevitable knocks that life brings or is keeping a college open at all costs more important? Is the idea for a college to gather and educate the brightest students or to get any old student who can pay the freight or collect enough scholarships to do so? Is the goal to reinforce the easy out when successful people work hard? Will lowering the bar help students and a college in the long run?