The Latest Admissions Stunt
When will colleges and universities stop playing games with their sales operations? News comes today that Goucher College has introduced an alternative admissions approach: If students submit a short video application they can forego submitting grades from their high school transcripts.
Further down in the article we learn that students will still need to submit their grades to be eligible for merit-aid awards. I don’t know the percentage of Goucher students who receive merit awards, but more than 70% apply for financial aid and only 10% have their full aid met. I assume that a large fraction of these students vie for merit awards as a way to close the gap. It's extremely difficult to attend a college such as Goucher without some sort of merit award.
So what are we left with – a way to attract that small pool of affluent students who are unconcerned with merit aid? A publicity stunt? A bizarre, off-key signal to our high schools that their grading is irrelevant to college success?
In the light of this sort of promotional campaign, can we blame families and students if they are confused about the purpose and goals of undergraduate education? Is it really helpful for a college to convey such a complete lack of gravitas? Generally I don't align with the critics of higher education who talk about how we are falling behind in global competition. But I think about how thoroughly confused students in any other country in the world would be by Goucher's new policy and I shake my head.