White Privilege in Admissions

The SFFA v. Harvard University case may well be heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in the months to come (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

There’s a new study out that suggests white students enjoy an advantage in the college admissions process. Yes, that’s right: white students have the leg up. In the study, conducted by Art & Science Group, a firm that offers advice to colleges on their enrollment patterns, surveyed high school students make clear the advantages that they enjoy in the admissions process — from their ability to rely on friends and family for information on colleges and the admissions process to their tendency to apply to more colleges to their greater likelihood of attending on-campus college tours.

As Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “White Privilege,” “The reality is that ‘college admissions offices still struggle to level the playing field for students within a system in which various forms of privilege—racial and ethnic, financial, access to social networks, family’s educational aspirations—confer advantages on some groups at the expense of others,’ said a report Art & Science is releasing about the data…David Straus, a principal at Art & Science, said all the differences between white students (and especially Black students) point to more sophistication about applying to college, not to better preparation for college. Colleges, viewing the results, should remember ‘that eventually, it’s going to end up that certain classes of students are going to apply to more than others’—and those who are applying more are likely to be white. ‘It’s a measure of privilege, one way or another,’ he added.”

With the Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard University case potentially headed to our nation’s highest court in the months to come, a court that currently skews conservative, it seems logical that this study could be used in Harvard’s defense. And to those folks opposed to Affirmative Action who like writing in comments lamenting the obstacles facing the white male in elite college admissions, know that we find your argument a bit ridiculous — particularly given that males enjoy an advantage at most elite universities over females since there are more female applicants. So at least get your facts straight before writing in.

Did we just stir the pot? Uh oh…

 
 

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