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Hiding Students’ Racial And Ethnic Backgrounds in Overseas Education Platform

Each year, the million or so students applying to college who are carrying out overseas education through the Common App are given the option to check a box, disclosing whether they identify as Hispanic, Asian, Black, or White, among other choices, the New York Times reported.

The move comes as the Supreme Court is expected to come out with a statement that says colleges and universities can no longer take race into consideration in admissions programs, a decision that will likely overturn decades-old precedent and could diminish the number of African American and Hispanic students in higher overseas education, CNN reported.

The Effect on Overseas Education 

Common Applications are a crucial step for admissions to colleges in the US. The Common App, as it is referred to, has 7 prompts out of which a prospective student is supposed to pick one and write a personal essay of under 650 words. The application also consists of personal information that includes details like race and ethnicity. 


“Right now, we are focused on supporting our member colleges and universities with any changes that may need to happen as a result of the Supreme Court decision,” Jenny Rickard, president, and chief executive officer of Common App, said in a statement. “While we do not know what the Supreme Court will decide, we have no plans to remove the optional race and ethnicity questions that are currently on the application.”


Traditionally, this has been a constant practice in the US to give admissions to students based on their respective ethnicity. However, the recent verdict by the SC seems to change the game. Earlier, because of this reason, there was a majority of Hispanic and Afro-American students who did get into the Universities easily. With the recent decision of the government, the process may change. 


EdNet’s Point of View on Overseas Education Essay


“It makes sense for a university to know about a student’s race or ethnicity as you really would want diversity at campuses and not just a huge proportion from a particular region. Having said that, the decision of the Supreme Court should not completely dilute the power of the Common App essay,” Niharika Sondhi, founder, and director of EdNet Consultants, one of Delhi’s leading overseas education consultancy, said. 


Statements by some of the officials inform that starting Aug 1, 2023, the colleges under different universities will have access to keep the points in the application and also will be able to hide the same, if needed. The final decision is supposed to be out in the last week of June. Earlier, the administration could hide birthdays, genders, test scores, and social security numbers. 


Last fall, there were two prominent cases in the Supreme Court revolving around the University of North Carolina and Harvard University. Both universities had arguments on whether or not they’d be able to remove this option of racial disclosure in the long run in the admission process. The questions on ethnic background and race are now optional for the students to reply to or attempt, unlike in earlier times. The Common App administration is all set to comply with the laws that are going to be changed and sought to bring about diversity in the University culture. 


Early Discussions on Overseas Education Policy


There have been persistent discussions about the issue of race earlier when Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Samuel Alito along with Chief Justice John Roberts had mentioned how it is insignificant for a student to get an admission based on what race they belong to. Rather, a student should be able to convince the admission board through their inspiring experiences and stories. They argued that the personal characteristics of a student are more interesting to know than getting to the details of their race and ethnicity. 


The response received from people has been both positive and negative. Some people say this is in the best interest of students while others are protesting against this decision. A recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that almost 60-65% of students, and people in general, are against this policy and it is not even considered to be the criteria for the admission process to take place. However, with the Supreme Court coming out with such a verdict seems like the next big step for the Common App process. 


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