College admissions may become more subjective due to the Supreme Court's ruling. - Liberty

Saturday, July 29, 2023

College admissions may become more subjective due to the Supreme Court's ruling.

Colleges have a strategy, such as stressing the personal essay, but conservative organizations also have one, promising to watch and, if necessary, return to court.

College admissions may become more subjective due to the Supreme Court's ruling.
For months or even years, many colleges have been preparing for the Supreme Court's ruling and have already taken certain steps toward "race-neutral" admissions. Kenny Holston

Liberty CNN, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. criticized Harvard and the University of North Carolina's admissions procedures in the Supreme Court ruling that abolished racial and ethnic advantages in college admissions, calling them "elusive," "opaque," and "imponderable."

However, as institutions attempt to abide by the rules while simultaneously admitting a diverse class of students, the court's decision on Thursday to rule against the two universities may result in an admissions process that is even more arbitrary and enigmatic.

"Will it grow less transparent? Danielle Ren Holley, who will soon take over as president of Mount Holyoke College, stated, "Yes, it will have to. It's already a complicated procedure, and this opinion will just make it more so.

Edward Blum, the plaintiff and founder and president of Students for Fair Admissions, defended what he called "standard measurements" of academic qualifications in an interview, citing research that showed test scores, grades, and coursework helped identify which students would succeed at selective universities.

He stated that he will uphold the ruling and that Students for Fair Admissions and its legal counsel "have been closely monitoring potential changes in admissions procedures."

He said in a statement on Thursday that "we remain vigilant and intend to initiate litigation should universities defiantly flout this clear ruling."

College admissions may become more subjective due to the Supreme Court's ruling.
At the University of California, Berkeley, affirmative action is not permitted. Jim Wilson

However, it would be extremely difficult to do away with any indication or implication of race from the admissions process, starting with the names of candidates. Additionally, Justice Roberts explicitly left up the possibility of taking someone's actual experience into account while making his or her ruling.

Nothing in this decision can be taken to mean that institutions can't take into account an applicant's explanation of how race influenced his or her life, whether it was due to prejudice, inspiration, or another factor, he said.

Nevertheless, he cautioned that the personal essay could not be used to subtly indicate race. In other words, he argued, "the student must be treated according to his or her experiences as an individual, not according to race." Many colleges have been doing the reverse for far too long.

Universities, such as Harvard and the United Nations, declared on Thursday that they will abide by the decision. Untangling a university's goals will be difficult for doubters from the outside, though. How can they tell whether a choice about admissions was influenced by an essay on one's own grit or the applicant's race that was disclosed in that essay?

Richard Sander, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has been skeptical of affirmative action, predicted that colleges would just cheat and decide to see who got sued as a result of the situation.

How to use the essay has already been addressed by certain school leaders. In a recent presentation supported by the American Council on Education, Shannon Gundy, an admissions official at the University of Maryland, advised students to modify their admissions essays to discuss how race had influenced their lives.

She said, "Right now, students don't write about their struggles; they write about their soccer practice and their grandma dying. They don't discuss the difficulties they've had in their writing.

Along the lines of the "diversity, equity, and inclusion" declarations that have become a standard component of faculty recruiting, colleges may also request additional, more incisive pieces.

College admissions may become more subjective due to the Supreme Court's ruling.
Students "don't write about their trials and tribulations" in college essays, according to Shannon Gundy, a University of Maryland admissions representative. Shuran Huang

One of the key pillars of Mount Holyoke College is diversity of all types, according to Ms. Holley, the new president of the institution. Tell us why you believe it's important and what you think your diversity contributes to the Mount Holyoke community.

In line with the experiences of Michigan and California, after both states banned affirmative action at their public institutions years ago, college authorities believe that the decision would immediately result in a decrease in the number of Black and Hispanic students at top colleges. A quarter of a century after the ban went into place, just 3.4% of the entering freshman class at the University of California, Berkeley last fall were black students.

However, a large number of the roughly 100 institutions that use affirmative action have been preparing for this day for months or perhaps years. Additionally, they have already begun to take steps toward a "race-neutral" admissions period, one that seeks to uphold the letter of the law while still preserving the spirit of affirmative action.

Academic integrity is still crucial, but what about standardized tests? Not required and sometimes even read.

High-achieving kids from low-income households or "first-gen" candidates, who are the first in their families to attend college, are increasingly given precedence by schools. More need-based financial assistance is being provided, and they are investing money into helping kids.

Additionally, certain elite universities will probably take a far more active part in guiding potential applications.

For instance, the University of Virginia last month revealed a strategy to focus on 40 high schools in eight areas of the state with a low application history. The entire cost of tuition has now been guaranteed by Duke University to North and South Carolina residents with household incomes of no more than $150,000.

"The hardest part really is identifying and recruiting the students," said Alison Byerly, president of Carleton College, which she said will increase its collaborations with neighborhood groups.

According to Colorado College President L. Song Richardson, the students are present. She said that if skills were evenly dispersed throughout all demographic groups, "you would anticipate a diverse class to emerge from an objective hiring process."

College admissions may become more subjective due to the Supreme Court's ruling.
There were bright pupils, according to Colorado College president L. Song Richardson. Stephen Speranza

According to some educators, the success of these initiatives may be shown by California's experience after its 1996 prohibition on affirmative action. In 2021, the U.C. system as a whole welcomed its most diverse class ever. However, hiring new employees costs hundreds of millions of dollars, and Berkeley, the top university, is still lagging.

For certain public campuses, like the University of North Carolina or the University of Virginia, whose "diversity, equity, and inclusion" programs have previously caused conflicts with conservative lawmakers, the dangers are different. When it comes to any ambiguous race-neutral policy, they most likely will tread gingerly.

Additionally, there can be pressure to sabotage the whole process, removing privileges for the often rich and white offspring of graduates and benefactors. Most schools have thus far refused these requests, claiming that these choices foster community and help with fundraising. But given the high level of skepticism around college admissions and the widespread belief that the system is biased in favor of the wealthy and well-connected, the court's ruling may force a reckoning. Jerome Karabel, a sociologist at U.C. Berkeley who has researched college admissions, said that although this is a significant loss for racial equity, it is also a chance. "It's time to revisit the drawing board and see what we can come up with. There are many ideas available.