Now that colleges have been prevented from considering race as a part of the admissions process, how will they be able to continue selecting a diverse group of applicants? It may sound like a cop out or overly simplistic, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. A lack of will is the reason that race was inserted into the application process in the first place. There are any number of solutions to the question of maintaining diverse student populations on college campuses.
We tend to find the things we look for. Expanding outreach to underrepresented groups is one obvious course of action. These outreach efforts could include low-income students, students from rural areas, and students of color. This can be accomplished by attending college fairs in under served communities, partnering with schools in those areas, and creating online resources for prospective students. Paying close attention to family income, zip code, and educational opportunities available to applicants hold a wealth of information that colleges can use when making admissions decisions. By considering these factors, colleges can help to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to gain admission to their schools.
Most colleges claim to use holistic admissions policies. Adopting a truly holistic admissions policy by using a variety of factors that reach beyond academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and personal essays will produce a greater diversity among top applicants. This approach can help to ensure that colleges are admitting students who are well-rounded and have a variety of experiences to offer the campus community.
When looking for the answer to any problem it can be helpful to take a long look in the mirror. Most of our colleges could do with assembling a more diverse faculty and staff. Interacting with a diverse faculty and staff can help to create a more welcoming environment for students from all backgrounds. If colleges recruit and hire faculty and staff from a variety of backgrounds, this diverse group of educators is more likely to stimulate student interaction with faculty and staff both inside and outside of the classroom.
There is no single solution to maintaining a diverse student population in colleges. Colleges will need to adopt approaches that will best help them achieve their specific goals.
As colleges implement, measure and change their approach to securing diverse student populations, they must remember to celebrate this diversity. Celebrations of diversity can also take many forms. Diversity training for faculty and staff, student-led diversity initiatives, and events that celebrate different cultures are all likely candidates to support the students they worked so hard to recruit. By taking these and a myriad of other steps, colleges can help to create a more diverse and inclusive campus community without using a race-based admissions system.