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Former SMU Arts Dean Going For Video College Applications

by Jerome Weeks 29 Sep 2014 10:49 AM

Jose Bowen left SMU to run Goucher College in July. Now Goucher is the first college with an app for accepting video applications.


And yes, there’s an app for that.

Jose Bowen, who announced his departure as dean of SMU’s Meadows College of the Arts only back in March, has already gotten some national attention (from NPR and the NYTimes) in his new position as president of Goucher College. The small, liberal-arts joint in Baltimore has launched an app to accept short video applications (plus some samples of a student’s high school work) as an alternative to the usual batch of standardized tests, transcripts and recommendations.

Tufts University has been accepting YouTube videos as a supplement to its application process since 2010. But Goucher may be the first college to permit the videos as a substitute application.

Bowen touts the video applications as a way for young people to use technology they’re much more familiar with (the video function on their cellphones) than all that administrative paperwork and essay-writing. And that, he argues, will offset some bias in applications.

High school students who might not have a laptop, they might not have a way to write their essay and get their parents to edit it. But they probably have a phone, and they understand how to use the phone to make a video.”

He adds that the SAT, by contrast, “mostly tells us about your previous performance, and it tells us quite a bit about your parental background.”

For that last argument, Bowen catches a fair amount of flak in the comments for both NPR and the NYTimes.