Affirmative action repeal may change admission process

By on October 30, 2012

When it comes to applying to college, high school students can be held responsible for their grades, can join extracurricular activities and can study for the SATs. They can’t, however, control what race they are and, based on affirmative action, that can be a factor in applying to colleges.

In the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger, it was ruled that universities were entitled to create a diverse student population by using race as one of many factors in the admissions process. This process is known as affirmative action. The court recognized that representing minority groups in higher education benefited students.

A Supreme Court case, Fisher v. University of Texas, is currently being reviewed may declare affirmative action unconstitutional because it may allow some students to gain an unfair advantage over others. Abigail Fisher, the plaintiff in the case, applied to the University of Texas and was denied acceptance, and believed that her race was used against her. Fisher believes race should not be an issue when applying to colleges.

At Quinnipiac University, the Office of Admissions still uses affirmative action as a part of the acceptance process.

“It’s important in developing educated individuals to have them experience a broad range of friends and classmates who bring a variety of experiences to the classroom,” Quinnipiac’s Vice President for Admissions and Financial Aid Joan Isaac Mohr said.

According to the Office of Admissions, nearly 17 percent of the freshman class identified themselves as being students of color. Approximately 78 percent classified themselves as being caucasian.

Race may be a factor to admissions officers, but according to Mohr it is not a major influence in the decision.

“If two students with the absolute identical academic history applied, it’s most likely the admission decision would be the same for both of them regardless of their race or ethnic background,” Mohr said.

The Office of Admissions also looks at different factors in applicants, such as courses taken, grades earned, grade patterns, SAT scores and counselor recommendations.

“Each student is evaluated as an individual,”  Mohr said. “We don’t hold one student’s information in comparison to another student.”

Overall, Mohr is pleased with Quinnipiac’s admissions process, which takes into account both race and many other factors.

“I believe it is fair,” Mohr said. “It can be competitive, no doubt, but we strive to attract and enroll an incoming class each year that will bring diversity of thought and experience to the classroom and will both add to and benefit from the educational offerings of the university.”

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