The Supreme Court Ruling and Its Impact on College Admissions

by Ryan Lee
college admissions

In a recent Supreme Court ruling, affirmative action policies in higher education have been eliminated, prompting colleges across the country to reconsider their admissions practices. This decision, which brings an end to decades-old policies, is expected to result in a shift towards increased representation of white and Asian American students, and potentially fewer Black and Hispanic students. The ruling will particularly impact selective colleges that have previously considered race as a factor in admissions, but even less selective institutions may need to adjust their systems in response.

Effectiveness and Implications:
Colleges are currently analyzing the decision’s implications, but it is certain that the ruling will have a significant and nationwide impact. It will necessitate a reevaluation of how colleges admit students and may lead to changes in the way applications are evaluated. While some colleges may still consider aspects such as life experiences and adversity, direct consideration of race in admission decisions will no longer be permissible.

Current Admissions Landscape:
The exact number of colleges that consider race in admissions remains unknown since institutions are not required to disclose this information, and the federal government does not track it. However, a survey conducted in 2019 found that approximately four in 10 colleges acknowledged some degree of influence of race in their admissions decisions. Highly selective institutions were more likely to consider race, while many less selective schools did not factor it in.

Furthermore, several states, including California, Michigan, Florida, and Washington, have already banned affirmative action at private universities. In response, colleges in these states have sought to increase the enrollment of low-income students, considering socioeconomic status as a proxy for race. Some institutions have also implemented “percentage” plans, guaranteeing admission to the top students from each high school in the state. Although these approaches have yielded mixed results, colleges are expected to explore alternative strategies in light of the ruling.

Changes in Admissions Practices:
In the aftermath of the ruling, some proponents suggest placing greater emphasis on applicants who have overcome adversity. President Joe Biden has endorsed this approach, stating that adversity should become a new standard in college admissions. The ruling seems to allow for this alternative, stating that universities can consider an applicant’s discussion of how race affected their life if it is tied to a particular quality the applicant brings to campus.

Consequently, applicants may encounter additional questions related to adversity or life experiences. However, the decision cautions against an excessive reliance on essays or an attempt to reinstate an unlawful regime. Ultimately, race will no longer be a factor used to give an advantage to underrepresented minorities during the admissions process.

Legacy Admissions and Other Practices:
With affirmative action no longer a consideration, colleges now face mounting pressure to address other admission practices that disproportionately benefit white and privileged students. Legacy preferences, which grant an admission boost to children of alumni, are among the practices under scrutiny. Activists and some politicians, including President Biden, have called for an end to legacy preferences. While some colleges have already abandoned this policy, it remains prevalent at institutions like Harvard and other Ivy League schools.

Additionally, activists are targeting other policies seen as barriers for underrepresented students, such as donor preferences and standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Many colleges made these entrance exams optional during the pandemic, and there is a growing movement to make this change permanent.

Colleges’ Response and Future Outlook:
Colleges nationwide have expressed their commitment to campus diversity regardless of the court’s decision. While campus leaders continue to assess the ruling’s impact on their institutions, they remain optimistic about finding legal ways to maintain a diverse student body. By sending welcoming messages, colleges aim to mitigate the decline in Black and Hispanic student enrollments that have been observed in states where affirmative action has been banned.

Historical Background:
Affirmative action policies in college admissions have previously been upheld by the Supreme Court based on their potential benefits, including exposure to diverse perspectives and the preparation of future leaders. However, the recent decision marks a reversal in the court’s stance. While acknowledging the commendable intentions behind the policies, the court found them legally insufficient, as they lacked concrete measurements and clear end goals. The ruling criticized universities for relying on trust rather than providing substantial evidence to support their practices.

The recent Supreme Court ruling has effectively ended affirmative action policies in higher education, requiring colleges to reassess their admissions practices. The decision will prompt changes in the evaluation of applications, with an emphasis on factors such as adversity rather than race. Legacy preferences and other practices that benefit privileged students also face mounting scrutiny. While colleges strive to maintain diversity, the long-term impact of the ruling remains to be seen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about college admissions

Q: What is the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding affirmative action in college admissions?

A: The recent Supreme Court ruling ends affirmative action policies in college admissions, requiring colleges to stop considering race as a factor in their admissions decisions.

Q: How will the ruling impact college admissions and diversity?

A: The ruling is expected to result in campuses with more white and Asian American students and potentially fewer Black and Hispanic students. Colleges will need to rethink their admissions practices to ensure a diverse student body without considering race directly.

Q: Will colleges still consider factors like adversity or life experiences in admissions?

A: Yes, some colleges may place greater emphasis on students who have overcome adversity. The ruling allows colleges to consider an applicant’s discussion of how race affected their life if tied to a specific quality the applicant brings to campus. However, excessive reliance on essays or attempts to revive unlawful practices are cautioned against.

Q: What other admission practices are being scrutinized?

A: Legacy preferences, which give an admission boost to children of alumni, are facing increased scrutiny. Donor preferences and standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are also being targeted as potential barriers for underrepresented students.

Q: How are colleges responding to the ruling?

A: Colleges are committed to maintaining campus diversity despite the ruling. They are analyzing the decision’s implications and exploring alternative approaches to ensure a diverse mix of students. The aim is to avoid a decline in enrollments of Black and Hispanic students observed in states where affirmative action has been banned.

Q: What was the rationale behind the Supreme Court’s decision to end affirmative action?

A: The court found that while universities’ goals of promoting racial diversity are commendable, they lacked concrete measurements and clear end goals. The decision emphasized the need for universities to provide substantial evidence rather than relying solely on trust.

Q: Are there any states that have already banned affirmative action in college admissions?

A: Yes, nine states, including California, Michigan, Florida, and Washington, have separately banned affirmative action at private universities. Colleges in these states have adopted alternative strategies, such as recruiting more low-income students or implementing “percentage” plans based on high school rankings.

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CollegeAdmisionsEnthusiast June 30, 2023 - 7:51 am

wow, supreem cort ended affrmative action! ths is a big deel for colledge admisssions. now colledges hav to stop consdring race. i wundr how this will affct diversety?

LegacyAdvocate June 30, 2023 - 8:47 am

’bout time they look into those legasy preferencs! it’s not fair for the rest of us who don’t hav a conection. hope mor collges will drop that polisy soon!

TestOptionalFanatic June 30, 2023 - 2:34 pm

yesss, SAT and ACT under attack again! they shouldn’t be used to judge students. glad to see that som collges made them optional during the pandemik. it should be permanent!

InfoSeeker123 June 30, 2023 - 10:07 pm

So, will collges stil think abot other things lik adversity? or is it all jst about the grades now?

DiversityChampion June 30, 2023 - 10:35 pm

this decision could impakt diversety efforts in colledges. but i hope they find othr ways to promote diversety. it’s important for studnts to b exposed to diffrent perspectives!


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