Recent Attack on UW Admissions Policy is Misguided

by Adaeze Okoli, age 19

For many high school seniors, much of the year is filled with standardized tests, college applications, college visits and interviews. A lot of their time is spent waiting, in agony, to hear back from various universities. Conversations surrounding college admissions begin to multiply, with significant discussion about race, and the ease with which black students are admitted to universities. As an African-American, I have heard several times from my white and Asian peers that it would be easier for me to get into selective universities because of my race.
My classmates are not the only ones who believe minority applicants have an easier time getting into college. Earlier this year, the University of Wisconsin came under fire for their bias in admissions. A third-party think tank analyzed UW admissions data and found that they admitted seven in ten Black applicants compared to six in ten White and Asian applicants.
Statistically, there is undoubtedly a bias. However, it is important to remember that the college admissions process is holistic. It is the University’s prerogative to admit students that will enhance the school as a whole and contribute to its overall diversity.
When I say diversity, I am talking about more than race. There is diversity in geography, family background, religion, type of schooling, and much more. In addition to looking at grades and performance on standardized tests, universities look at the applicant as a person and the experiences they will bring to the university.
For example, if you were attending a potluck dinner, it would be disappointing if everyone brought the same dish. The beauty of a potluck is that everyone brings something different. The same applies to a need to keep the university diverse. It would be fine to go to school with people who shared the same values and background but it would be a more enriching experience to attend school with people who bring different perspectives.
As I begin college this fall at The Ohio State University, I am excited to meet students from all walks of life. Even at my orientation, I chatted with students from as far as Ukraine and as near as Chicago. I had lunch with people studying everything from Anthropology and Arabic to Electrical Engineering. Mingling with such diverse students is enriching and broadens my scope of thinking.