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Affirmative Action: Why it’s so important to be considered in college admissions

By Angela Torres

Affirmative action in the college admissions process should be supported.

By definition, affirmative action is “the practice or policy of favoring individuals belonging to groups regarded as disadvantaged or subject to discrimination.”

In the college process, affirmative action for disadvantaged or subject to discrimination applicants means that they will have something that they did not already have: a chance. A chance to get into a good college with better opportunities and resources. A chance to reach further in life than those before.

With affirmative action, colleges and universities consider an applicant’s race, ethnicity, gender, background, etc., in order to create a diverse environment within their campus.

Increasing diversity within a college or university pushes for the advancement of the groups that attend these schools.

If we look at the statistics, you can see that on average, there is a gap between white students and students of any other race or color that attend prestigious schools.

As a minority student myself, I feel as though affirmative action would’ve been a useful tool in the application process.

I remember that even while in elementary school, I knew that I wanted to go to college and go into a competitive career. I knew it’d take a lot to get there and I pushed myself since then to be a good student. I thought being a good student would be enough to get me far in life. However, now that I’ve had more exposure to the college admissions process and information, I’ve realized that it takes a lot more than being a good student to get into a good school.

My test scores and extracurriculars don’t compare to a person who scored 1580 on the SAT, interned with an influential congressman, or began their own small business at a young age and has had a huge impact in their community.

I don’t have any of those qualities that would be deemed desirable or impressive by colleges. I didn’t have the same access to information as others who did any of that once did.

In my case, affirmative action would’ve given me an upper hand in acceptance to certain schools or colleges that I probably would’ve been just another application to. Many minorities lack the resources to succeed and go beyond what is designed to be the minimum.

Some argue that instead of ending discrimination, affirmative action does the opposite. The truth is, that the whole point of implementing affirmative action in the college process is to increase racial or ethnic diversity within a school’s environment.

If the opposite were the case, there are many more practices, such as legacy admissions, which only promote the continuation of discrimination.

Legacies are applicants or students that apply to the same school that their parent or grandparent(s) attended. According to The Guardian, legacy students are generally wealthy and white.

Legacy applicants, as found by The New Yorker, are four times more likely to be admitted to prestigious universities than other applicants with the same test scores.

If affirmative action had to go, then legacies and other policies should too if the goal is to “diminish discrimination.”

Unfortunately, the fate of affirmative action has been decided by the U.S Supreme Court in two cases: Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina.


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