If you are thinking about pursuing a college education and you have a diverse background, you might be in for an interesting surprise. Many of us know that most colleges and universities care about diversity. They seek students from multiple backgrounds, not just races but cultures, religions, hobbies, walks of life, etc. Educational institutions foster diversity since they understand that students learn the most from listening to different points of view, and from the challenge of stepping away of what’s known to them, in order to grow.
Assessing campus diversity
How can we learn about schools that are most interested in fostering diversity on campus? There are some ways in which we can inform ourselves of the options available to assess campus diversity. One of them is U.S.News & World Report’s rankings on school diversity. For the 2008-2009 academic year, the magazine ranks Rutgers as the most diverse in the country with a diversity index of 0.74 out of 1: “That means that nearly 3 out of every 4 people you run into there will be from a different ethnic group.” Other schools that offer a large percentage of a diverse student population include University of Houston (Texas), Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Nova Southeastern University (Florida), CUNY–City College, California State University–Sacramento, California State University–Dominguez Hills, Houston Baptist University (Texas), California State University–East Bay, La Sierra University (California), Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology (New York), and others. Check out the complete list on the U.S.News website.
Celebrate Your Difference.
At Cornell, they report that diversity is growing as “The proportion of students who identify themselves as other than white has more than doubled from 20% in 1985 to 43% in 2005.” This is a trend that repeats itself in many college campuses all over the U.S.A. As diverse students, we find in this trend an opportunity to hone on our uniqueness as we enter the college admission process. When recently talking with a student graduating from a very prominent school in the South, she explained how some students there were surprised to learn she is Hispanic, as her looks were not mixed, but her skin tone was fair. When finding out that she is Hispanic, they asked her “what part of Mexico does your family come from?” She is a Cuban descendant. It is at that moment that she fully understood what her purpose was when being in that school--to culturally support her peers, helping them grow by becoming cognizant on the Hispanic culture, and a different reality from what they were exposed throughout their upbringing.
So if you’re a student with a diverse background, it can be beneficial for you to learn more about colleges and universities that will open their arms to you, and welcome your diversity. In places like these, your opinion will be valued, your personal experiences will be rewarded, and your opportunity to drive learning and campus progress will be maximized.