Category Archives: Diversity


At Test-Optional Colleges, Students Surpass the Scores They Didn’t Submit

At nearly three dozen colleges that do not require applicants to take the ACT or SAT, researchers have found only “trivial differences” between the long-term performance of college students who submitted test scores and those who did not.

According to a report released on Tuesday, the cumulative grade-point averages of non-submitters was .05 lower than of submitters (2.83 compared with 2.88). The difference in their graduation rates: 0.6 percent.

The report (“Defining Promise: Optional Standardi…


Grades Still Matter Most in Admissions

A majority of colleges attribute little or no importance to students’ race and ethnicity or first-generation status when reviewing applications, according to survey findings released on Thursday by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

The findings, which appear in the group’s “State of College Admission 2013″ report, shed light on how various student characteristics influenced evaluations of grades, strength of curriculum, and standardized-test scores—the most important f…


Want to Define Merit? Good Luck

Los Angeles — All day long they wrestled with the meaning of merit.

On Thursday enrollment officials here discussed the term around which the admissions world revolves. How colleges assess and reward merit shapes the socioeconomic and racial diversity of students at selective colleges. But what, exactly, is merit? Should colleges redefine it? If so, how?

At a conference held by the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice, many speakers agreed that…


First-Generation Students Lag in College Readiness, Report Says

About a quarter of high-school graduates who took the ACT in 2013 met all four of its college-readiness benchmarks, in English, reading, mathematics, and science. But students whose parents did not go to college fared quite a bit worse: Only 9 percent of them met all four benchmarks.

That finding comes from a report, “The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2013: First-Generation Students,” released on Monday by ACT and the Council for Opportunity in Education, a nonprofit group focused on a…


Admissions Leaders Weigh Post-‘Fisher’ Questions

New YorkNeither a victory nor a defeat. That’s how supporters of race-conscious admissions policies have described the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas. At the College Board’s annual conference here this week, admissions officials have discussed that ambiguity.

During a session on Fisher, an audience of more than 200 people participated in an on-the-spot survey. Using electronic clickers, they chose responses to statements that appeared on a screen. First, t…


Quality and Potential in Admissions

Washington — Last week I attended a panel discussion on diversity in higher education sponsored by the Departments of Education and Justice, which issued new guidance on race-conscious admissions policies. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, federal officials said, affirmed that colleges may consider an applicant’s race, among other factors, without running afoul of the law.

One of the panelists was Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Syracuse University. S…


‘Intersection’ of Race and Other Factors Shapes Success in College

Among college students whose mothers lacked a college degree, six-year graduation rates were higher for women than for men, but there was no such gender gap among black students whose mothers had a degree.

That’s one finding of a study published in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (log-in required). The author, Micere Keels, an assistant professor in the University of Chicago’s department of comparative human development, examined how the “intersection” of gender, race and ethnicity, and …


‘Fisher’ Happened. Now What?

Like many college officials, Larry White has read and reread the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. He keeps returning to the same sentence on Page 11, searching for guidance. “Strict scrutiny,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote, “imposes on the university the ultimate burden of demonstrating, before turning to racial classifications, that available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice.”

What, exactly, does that mean? “In those words is…


Scaling Up Efforts to Reach High-Achieving, Low-Income Students

Washington — An experiment conducted by two economists, Caroline M. Hoxby and Sarah Turner, has found that customized college information can change the enrollment patterns of high-achieving, low-income students—students who would be admissible at the most selective colleges but who tend not to apply to them.

One key takeaway from that work is that “low-income students do aspire to go to the best college that will admit them and that they’re able to afford,” Ms. Hoxby said at an event here on We…


A Supreme Waiting Game

Boston — You can’t hurry love, and you can’t hurry the U.S. Supreme Court. For weeks and weeks, college presidents, admissions officers, general counsels, scholars, students, high-school counselors, pundits, and reporters have awaited a ruling in Fisher v. Texas, which may or may not bring an end to race-conscious admissions policies.

Theodore L. Spencer knows all about waiting for verdicts. Here at the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions, he recalled on Wednesday the suspenseful days…