Perpetuating Prejudice: The College Admissions Race Game

Perpetuating Prejudice: The College Admissions Race Game

Lately, some high school seniors have been rustling through their family tree in attempt to find a sliver of minority to pad their college applications. While most universities claim to have “race­blind” admissions, they do aim to diversify their campus by accepting as many minorities as possible. Many attempt to justify this model by claiming it “prevents discrimination”, though ironically, it only perpetuates discrimination further. Special treatment to any race, whether it be a minority or majority, is prejudice.

Our ethnicity is a trait that we simply cannot control at the individual level. Public higher education schools, as well as private schools, should incorporate race­blind admissions processes. Meeting ethnicity quotas to demonstrate diversity in schools is simply as discriminatory as it gets. If a student has an astounding grades, phenomenal extracurriculars, and perfect test scores, why should his or her race define their admission? If one student worked harder than another, then he or she clearly is more deserving of a spot in college, regardless of his or her race. Schools are a place for academics, therefore a prospective student’s academic record is the only mean of judgement any school should base their admissions on. Merit­based admissions should be mandatory guidelines for all higher education schools.

While the intentions of collegiate diversity are great, the execution is simply perpetuating prejudice. Yes, who wouldn’t want a campus where you could meet folks from around the world? But you know what sounds even better? A campus where you could meet folks who have the same passion, drive, commitment, and work ethic as you. Simply put, universities are for academics. Students needs others who are at their academic level, regardless of any other factors.

This college admissions seasons, I urge all applicants to not play the “I swear I’m 1/8th Ecuadorian” card. Using ethnicity to gain an advantage is, though flipped, the same thought process as assuming other ethnicities have a disadvantage, further perpetuating discrimination in the admissions process.

If equality is what this nation is looking for, then any special treatment must depart. Students cannot decide their ethnicity, but they can decide how hard they work, how much they study, and how determined they are. We are students with academic dreams, not toys at a factory of which universities must meet a quota for each type. Schools must stop objectifying students, and start defining only what really matters. Universities should judge students for what they can produce, not for what they can’t change. 


Claire Tran is a 17 year-old girl living in sunny Northern California. Somehow, she balances her crazy life of advanced academics in the International Baccalaureate program, yoga classes, volunteer work at the local children's science museum, and her small crochet business. Her true passions are music and marketing, and hopes to one day combine those two into a career!


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