As the news media and colleges ramp up the rhetoric regarding race-conscious admissions, everyone is asking questions and seeking answers. Listening to the buzz from college leaders, admissions officers, and associated organizations, here is what my more than three decades of wisdom and college leadership can tell you. Almost nothing will change.
College admissions leaders continue even more forcefully reaffirm their commitment to diversity, seek out a diverse class, and find ways to abide by the law while finding new avenues to select their incoming classes. Some even overtly say they will circumvent the decision by changing their essays to ensure they get the information they want in a roundabout way. Do not expect a change. Only a few admissions departments will seek grades/scores/contest merit over diversity.
Our society, led by the media, demands equity, fairness, and social justice and believes that privilege, social class, and the benefits of being a leader, participating in pay-to-play activities, and expensive hobbies are unfair disadvantages in a system that has long sidelined the disadvantaged. This is not my personal opinion. This is my ear-to-the-ground auditory and reading voluminous material. Note: there is some very subtle pushback from professors who want students to have strong reading, writing, and computational skills. However, they have only a little say as the much stronger pull to stop testing, look at social factors, and consider a more socially flat system where peaks of prosperity, access, and legacy are eliminated.
This new mantra makes little sense to the Chinese and Indians, where a meritocratic system of testing and earning spots is coveted and guaranteed by studying intensely for a decade. The decision is grounded in law for now and will continue to motivate and push “inclusion” and “diversification”.
Does this mean you should study or participate less? Does this mean you should not attend coding camps, engineering programs, or internships? Should you cease to join MUN, Speech & Debate, or Robotics? Should you stop club sports or a travel ball team? Should you quit NCL, Assistance League, or NLYM?
No, the colleges will tweak their essays to get what they want, and you should continue to participate in everything that will push you and inspire you to be the best for yourself, your family, and your community. My advice is for you to ignore the stress of worrying about the decision. You cannot change the Supreme Court singlehandedly. You should continue to seek excellence because it is in your best interest to be the best you can be.
If you need a motivating force to help you get to where you want to be, I do it all – unabashedly. If some decision stands in my way, I find new vistas. The world is big, and there are amazing opportunities out there. Diversity is fine. In the end, people will hire the best. So be the best you can be regardless of race, color, gender, culture, religion, disability, or socioeconomic class. I literally have people of every background come to me. I treat everyone equally and ask them, “How will you contribute to a college?” “What have you done, and what is your commitment to back up that answer?”