Why Minority Enrollment is Low at Highly Selective Colleges

Broadcast Journalism Major, Boston University

Jul   2012



Minority StudyA recent article in the Huffington Post discussed a new study that found that “black and Hispanic students are underrepresented at highly selective colleges.” Researchers found that white students were five times as likely as black students, and three times as likely as Hispanic students, to enroll in highly selective schools. Not only that, but white students were two or three times as likely to gain admission than black students. In addition, low-income students were extremely underrepresented at top-tier schools.

Despite the gap in academic performances between minorities and white students, this underrepresentation is still present. Why is that? The authors of the study believe that the enrollment gap must be because of “changes in college application-admission-enrollment decision processes,” so it has nothing to do with the intelligence of the minority students applying to these top schools.

This ultimately leads to a major question that many people wonder. Why is it important for colleges to see the race of the students who apply to their schools? Should schools even ask the race of students in the application process if the high-end schools may accept more majority students than minority students?

People have different opinions about this. However, I strongly believe that minority students deserve the exact same chance of acceptance into highly selective schools. Applications don’t necessarily need to ask students about race because it may give too much favor to one side, like it seems to be doing at these highly selective colleges. Diversity is extremely important in forming a strong, cultural, and educational environment where students of all backgrounds can receive the same high-caliber education; why neglect minority students then? Not only should schools accept more Hispanic and black students, but colleges and universities should be proactive and embrace such students.

I am working on a news article for my internship at Fox News about young Americans ages 18-29 and how their vote will impact the 2012 election. Now, stay with me on this—I spoke to a researcher from a group called CIRCLE who does research on young Americans and elections, and the woman I spoke with said that outreach is key. More people are more likely to register to vote in elections if people talk to them about it.

Taking this information from my interviewee, I think it’s crucial for these top schools to reach out to minority students and express interest in them applying. Students can only do so much to show that they’re interested in schools—they are only one of thousands of students applying. However, if schools showed minority students that they want them to apply and encourage them to apply, more students may apply and the schools may accept more students.

What do you think of the results from the study? Share your thoughts below! 

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About Maria Martinolich

Maria Martinolich

Maria is a junior in the College of Communication at Boston University. She is majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a concentration in history. Maria is heavily involved with BU’s TV station (BUTV10), BU’s radio station (WTBU)Greek Life at Boston University, and is currently a Fox News intern. Maria is originally from Long Island, New York, and although she’s a Yankee fan, she loves being in Boston! Maria hopes to be a news anchor or be the next Bob Costas and cover the Olympics someday. Being of Greek, Croatian, and Polish descent, she has a lot of diversity in herself and loves learning about new cultures, organizations, ethnicities, causes, and people. Because she grew up appreciating all kinds of diversity, and also attends such a diverse university, Maria is extremely excited about writing the College Diversity blog!

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