Last Updated: Jul 11, 2012
You’re probably reading the title of this and saying, “I already know what diversity is!” Well, that may be true, but prospective college students don’t necessarily grasp the full meaning of what diversity means at college. Like I’ve said in previous posts—many people see diversity and automatically think race, but diversity goes beyond race.
Some students may not consider diversity in their college decision at all. But that shouldn’t necessarily be the case—diversity brings new opportunities to your college experience, whether it is in the classroom, in an extracurricular club or organization, or in the dorms. Additionally, it shows that your school is committed to equality in education and eliminating the disparities that are often seen in higher education.
Diversity means change
College can be very different from your high school experience, especially if the student bodies between your two schools differ greatly. Perhaps you went to a single-sex high school, and now you’re at a co-ed college; or maybe the town where you went to public school is predominantly a certain race, religion, etc. The change you may encounter in college is nothing to be nervous about; if anything, be excited and embrace it. You’re able to meet people from another side of the racial, political, socioeconomic, or ethnic spectrum. You’ll learn about how people with different backgrounds, ideas, and beliefs work, play, live, and co-exist.
Being a part of a diverse campus is something that really shapes an individual as well. As a rising junior at Boston University, a very diverse school in Massachusetts’s capital, I know that my school has definitely changed how I look at life because of the diversity that I see, hear, work with, and learn from. It’s a positive experience to see all of the different types of people on one college campus.
Diversity means expanding
Expanding your horizons is one thing college is supposed to do—you learn new things, you have a different insights about life, and you interact with new people and new experiences, all of which probably would have happened differently if you were at another school. All of this is “double the fun” at a diverse school! Maybe having a roommate from Kenya will show you different cultural ways of life, or being in a group project with a Buddhist will show you how their work ethic may differ from yours. Whatever you learn, you’re expanding your knowledge about the world, which is something no textbook can teach.
Diversity means tolerance
Because going to a diverse school may bring about people, experiences, events, and other things you may not be used to, you’ll come to learn how to deal with differing views, beliefs, ideas, and ways of life. I’m not saying you have to become a different person and change your entire being—I simply mean that dealing with all of these adjustments will allow you to grow and understand people with different beliefs or ideas than you. You’ll become patient, accepting, and considerate of those with different paths than you, as well as things that you’re not used to. During my sophomore year, I wrote about having a suitemate from China. This was an experience from which I learned patience, thanks to our efforts in adapting when it came to communication.
Whatever school you wind up at, you’ll see at least some diversity. But if you’re still continuing your college search, pay attention to the diversity at the school, ask questions about it, and learn about how the college embraces diversity. It’s something that will teach you a lot and will absolutely shape your college experience!