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The Ivy Coach Daily

October 2, 2020

Nationality in Highly Selective College Admissions

Colleges love to brag about how many countries are represented in their incoming classes (photo credit: Alfred Hutter).

We came across a letter to the editor at BizNews in which the writers ponders if nationality plays a big role in the highly selective college admissions process. As the writer articulates, “I really think nationality plays a huge role in the admissions process. I know that universities are increasingly placing more emphasis on having a diverse student body and Africa as a continent is severely under represented in universities abroad, not due to lack of talent but rather due to the cost and lack of information regarding these universities and how to apply to them.” So is the writer right? Does nationality play a significant role in highly selective college admissions?

Elite Colleges Love to Brag About How Many Countries Are Represented in Each Class

Absolutely! Read just about any press release about a highly selective college’s incoming class and you’ll likely see a line that goes something like this: “The class includes students from all 50 states and from 45 countries around the world. The most represented countries aside from the United States include China, Canada, South Korea, and India.” Give or take a few countries. And plus or minus a few of the countries we cited. But you get the idea.

So Applicants from Underrepresented Countries Sure Do Have An Advantage

So will an applicant from Malawi or Zambia have an advantage over students from China or India? You bet they will. If the school is able to admit an applicant from Zambia, they will likely be able to add a country to their list. The objective of each and every highly selective American university is not just to educate America’s citizens. Rather, their objective is to educate the world’s citizens. So, yes, nationality can play an outsized role in the highly selective college admissions process — as it should.

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