Beyond SAT Optional

Goucher College goes beyond SAT optional.

Goucher College goes beyond SAT optional.

While in recent years the SAT-optional movement and a general backlash against standardized testing have gained momentum, one college has decided to go further than any other. Goucher College in Townson, Maryland has decided to not only abolish the standardized test requirement, but also the high school transcript requirement and even the traditional application—essay and all—requirement. Applicants will now be able to apply via a two-minute video. Apparently, the previous system of considering test scores, grades, and essays was “all about privilege and wealth,” according to Goucher College President José A. Bowen.

President Bowen also states that “the whole system [of college applications] is broken.” Although many students and parents who have endured the college application process would agree, Goucher’s abolition of previously unquestioned requirements—such as transcripts and recommendation letters—is nonetheless radical. Still, Goucher requires a writing sample and other high school work. Goucher’s president argues that performance on memorization-based high school classes and standardized tests are poor indicators of performance in college, while a writing sample will be a more accurate indicator of a student’s readiness for college.

It remains to be seen whether Goucher’s new approach will be successful. While the Review appreciates any innovation that improves a greatly flawed application process, replacing more objective admissions criteria with more subjective ones is a questionable method of solving inequities.