Colleges and universities have started implementing questions about identity in admissions essays following the Supreme Court’s ban on race-based admissions, according to multiple admissions websites reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Essays from more than two dozen schools are asking questions about identity and “lived experience” and asking students to discuss how their life was shaped by those things, according to The New York Times. Last year these essays asked questions such as what students like to read and what volunteering students have done, but after the Supreme Court’s ruling on affirmative action, that changed.
“Tell us about an aspect of your identity (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, religion, community, etc.) or a life experience that has shaped you as an individual and how that influenced what you’d like to pursue in college at Hopkins,” the Johns Hopkins admissions website reads.
“The essay helps us understand who you are and what you want out of your Hopkins experience. In 300-500 words, you’ll be asked to answer the following question in a way that demonstrates the unique perspective you might add to our community,” an archived version of Johns Hopkins’ admissions website captured before the decision reads.
Questions such as “How will the life experiences that shape who you are today enable you to contribute?” are asked on Harvard’s essays, according to the NYT.
“If schools are using ‘identity,’ ‘lived experience,’ or even zip codes as proxies for race, that’s unlawful. The Court allowed schools to consider whether personal experiences, like overcoming discrimination, created personal virtue, but it made clear that schools can’t use such things to discriminate on the sly,” GianCarlo Canaparo, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF.
“Nothing prohibits universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected the applicant’s life, so long as that discussion is concretely tied to a quality of character or unique ability that the particular applicant can contribute to the university,” Sarah Lawrence College’s admissions website reads, quoting Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts from the decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard.
An archived version of the Sarah Lawrence College’s admissions website taken before the Supreme Court’s decision does not include this quote.
Sarah Lawrence College, Harvard and Johns Hopkins did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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