You are on page 1of 7

Napoleon Solis English 112-72 Argument-Based Research Instructor Alexander Rogerian Argument 3/4/2014 Diversity in Higher Education In recent

years universities in the United States have been putting more effort into making their campuses more diverse. Each school has a different strategy to try to reach this goal. However, some problems may rise as to where exactly the line drawn that would determine which student is better for the school than another depending on their background and if that should have any importance at all. Having a diverse school is important because it prepares students to for their future careers as jobs are becoming more international and globalized. Also the racial make-up of the U.S. is changing. Universities are realizing the importance of having a diverse school and are taking steps to making it happen but that the same time they do not want to put out the idea that a racial background is more important than another. Many universities build a diverse student body by taking many factors into consideration from each student in order to prepare students to develop tolerance, respect and an open mind towards different cultures and backgrounds. Many argue that race should not play any role when it comes to college admissions as it creates a form of discrimination or favoritism. Policies like Affirmative action have been

used to integrate different races to universities. The topic of affirmative action in college application is a highly debated. What affirmative action means when talking about admissions is actively accepting underrepresented groups of people. In the past it was used as a way of integrating African Americans after the Civil rights movement but today it also includes Hispanics and basically every race (Messerli). This creates the idea that a student that is from a minority has a better chance of being accepted to a school based of their race and a white student was denied for the sake of adding diversity to a campus. An example being that an average middle class white student might get rejected in order to accept an African American or Hispanic applicant in order to reach a certain percentage of diversity. Highly selective schools usually have a high standard when it comes to GPA and SAT scores and everyone is compared equally. The fact that a student is of a different background just adds dimension and is something else to take into consideration. Each school has there different criteria that they consider the most important. Most of them look at what courses were taken, grades, class rank, test scores, recommendations, essays, interviews, etc. Typically if a school is small they pay more attention your personal talents and statements and your interview. Larger schools or public state colleges usually go by the scores of standardized tests. Also sometimes they have to make a decision based on the level of difficulty your courses have. Slightly lower grades on challenging classes might look better than high grades on average classes (Admissions Decisions: What Counts). Highly selective schools, typically private schools, like Harvard have had the reputation of only accepting wealthy white students. Whether that idea is true or not many Ivy League schools have made their effort of diversifying their schools more public. State

Colleges usually accept students based off grades and standardized test. However their diversity usually depends on the surrounding areas and the students they cater towards. Typically a schools demographics mirror the demographics of the location and the surrounded areas. If there is a high concentration of Caucasians around the college the college probably had a high concentration of Caucasians. Same goes for a school around place with a high concentration of African-Americans or Hispanics. The school might need to take extra steps to bring different types of students into the school to increase diversity. Typically when you think of diversity, the first thing that comes to mind is adding more Latinos and African Americans to a group of people. However to a University the word diversity has a very broad definition and takes many characteristics into consideration. Its not all about race and ethnicity. Things like sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disabilities and your location can be seen as a way to add diversity to a campus. The stereotypes typically when it comes to socioeconomic status are middle class white students, poor African-Americans and poor Hispanics. However, of course we know that everybody does not fit in these categories. There are poor white students as well as wealthy Hispanics and African Americans. A university might be interested in adding wealthier students of color or poorer white students. Both options are seen as a way of adding diversity based on class. So it is possible that a white student could add some type of diversity to a campus depending on what other characteristics they possess. (Strauss). Another thing to keep in mind is that words like minority, person of color, and underrepresented ethnicity have very different and specific meanings to a university. Usually people think these words have the same meaning and could be used interchangeably but thats not the case. A student that is

considered minority means that do not belong to the dominant race, in the United States the dominant group is usually Caucasian. If predictions are true there will be more people of color in the future but if Caucasians hold more positions of power they are still considered dominant. Person of color simply means not being white. This category has nothing to do with power and dominance. Historically underrepresented are ethnic groups that are disproportionately lower in numbers in colleges than in the general population. This term can take a broader definition and at the same time exclude people that are labeled minority, an example being Asians. Asians are considered a minority but they are not considered underrepresented because their percentage in colleges is higher in proportion to population (Ocampo). Not all schools have the problem of having mostly white alumni. San Jose University has a high concentration of Hispanic first generation college students, meaning that they are the first of the family to ever attend a college and the college has made the effort of trying to make their students more comfortable in the process of attending college. Illinois Wesleyan University has a totally different approach, 70% of their students are white. Every incoming white student has the option of attending a program during their first week explaining white privilege. The purpose of the program is to let the students know the benefits being white has because of our society but at the same time explain why treating other students of different race equally is important and beneficial towards the future. According to the school the students that participated in this program get involved in more organizations and helped them gain insight on themselves and other people (McCormack).

Having a diverse campus and environment is important because our country is changing. Population of Hispanics and African Americans are rising and of course they eventually enter the workforce. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be clear ethnic majority and currently more than fifty percent of babies born are of color. Today 36% of the workforce is people of color and by 2050 about half of the workforce will be people of color also (Kerby). Research and demographics have shown that the number of Hispanics and African-American enrolling into to college increased through the 90s and is predicted to increase by 28% between 2005 and 2015 (Akombo). Not all the benefits of having a diverse alumni deal with statistics and future predications, it has personal benefits to the students overall. It has been proven that students that are around diverse environments are more creative. This creativity promotes innovation which is also beneficial to the workforce. Also, being around different types of people opens your mind and it gives people a different perspective on people that you might have been exposed to and you own life (Kerby). In 1999 a testimony for the Supreme Court stated students in diverse educational environments are more civically and intellectually engaged and exhibit greater gains in intellectual and academic skills than those in less diverse settings (Fisher). Universities should be able to choose students based on specific characteristics. Each school has a goal or certain view for their students and the institution and not everybody fits that vision. If they accept everybody blindly just based off standardized test grades that vision might get lost. Also our countrys workforce and population are changing and students need to be prepared to tolerate and respect people of different cultures and backgrounds. So

the question you might ask is what if a Caucasian student and a Hispanic student applied to the same school and had similar grades and scores, who would get accepted? That would depend on what the university is looking for specifically and other characteristics. For example if they school only looks at grades they probably have an equal chance, but if the school is looking for different social class, orientation, etc. then they would have to evaluate each applicant individually.

Works Cited Admission Decisions: What Counts. CollegeBoard. 2012. Web. Jan. 27 2014. Akombo, David O. "Scholarship And Diversity In Higher Education." Journal Of Cultural Diversity. Jan. 20 2013. Web. Feb. 3 2014. Kerby, Sophia. 10 Reasons Why We Need Diversity on College Campuses. Center for American Progress. Oct. 9 2012. Web. Jan. 27 2014 Maranto, Robert, Richard E. Redding, and Frederick M. Hess. The Politically Correct University: Problems, Scope, and Reforms. Washington, D.C.: AEI, 2009. Print. McCormack, Eugene., Ben Gose. Tackling Diversity. Chronicle of Higher Education Vol.60 Issue 9. Nov. 1 2013: B4. MasterFILE Complete. Web. Jan. 27 2014 Messerli, Joe. Affirmative Action: Overview. National Conference of State Legislature. June 2013. Web. Jan. 27 2014 Ocampo, Roxanne. "Why Diversity Matters in College Admission." College Xpress ParentArticles. 2014, Carnegie Communications. Web. Jan. 27 2014 Strauss, Valerie. Race vs. Class In College Admission: A False Dichotomy or Not? The Washington Post. June 15 2013. Web. Feb 2 2014.