Should race affect your college application?

A Capstone article discussing Affirmative Action for college applicants

Samuel Walters, Guest Writer

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Affirmative Action laws that give an advantage to minority races in the workplace or at school have been around for decades. Although it is deemed as constitutional by the Supreme Court, Affirmative Action is highly controversial, especially when it affects college admission decisions. Minority students may benefit from Affirmative Action, but then other students may be at a disadvantage, simply because of their race.

Asian students in particular do not always fit into a college’s idea of a “minority” and may not receive the same advantage that a Latino or African American students will. According to Peter Schmidt from the Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has favored African American, American Indian, and Hispanic students more than Asians. Some have raised their voices about this, claiming that the imbalance spreads the stereotype that Asians are the “model minority”, which generalizes all Asians as above average students. This unfair standard hurts many qualified students across the country, including Asians here at Oakton High School.

Some of these voices have spoken out in court, and several cases on the matter have been appealed to the Supreme Court. Fisher v. University of Texas, which took place in 2013, ruled that race can legally factor into an application if it helps support diversity in the school’s population. In a 2016 poll taken by Frank Newport of 3,270 adults (18 and older) across all 50 states, 63% of African American voters and 65% of Hispanic voters checked “Disapprove” for their opinion of the Fisher v. University of Texas outcome. That’s nearly two thirds of minority voters in the poll who believe that colleges favoring certain races should be unconstitutional. In the same poll, 63% of all voters believed that race should not be a factor in college admissions, whereas 27% thought it should be a minor factor and only 9% thought it should be a major factor. In the fight for equality, why should it be okay to include or exclude people based on their race?

Even if most Americans did support Affirmative Action, does it actually help college diversity? According to Lanhee Chen from the Hoover Digest, California Proposition 209 prohibits public institutions from discriminating based on race, and in the 20 years since it was passed, the percentage of Asian students in California colleges has moderately increased, while the percentage of Latino and Chicano students has nearly doubled. California public college application officers clearly do not need a legal incentive in order to increase diversity in colleges.

If Affirmative Action might hinder the chances of a qualified student, and is not vital to improving diversity in college, then why allow race to be considered in college applications? Let me know what you think by emailing me at [email protected] or fill out a quick survey at

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