Common App Hides Race from College Applications

Written by Sarah Falcone
Published on June 9, 2023 · Updated on June 9, 2023

Common App Hides Race from College Applications

Written by Sarah Falcone
Published on June 9, 2023 · Updated on June 9, 2023

Colleges and universities nationwide are deciding what to do when Common App hides race and ethnicity from applications next academic year. The Common App, a key tool for college admissions, has come under scrutiny as it announces an overhaul for the 2023-2024 application year. Beginning August 1, 2023, it will allow educational institutions to hide race and ethnicity data from admissions officers. The move is in response to anticipated Supreme Court rulings expected sometime this year. The Supreme Court's decisions could abolish affirmative action in higher education. Many people worry that the change will make it more difficult to promote diversity on campus. Yet, supporters say that hiding race will give all students an equal chance of acceptance, regardless of background.

The Common App is a popular online college application platform that offers a digital application for students. Over 900 colleges and universities already accept the Common App. Earlier this year, the organization said that it saw 7,057,980 applications for the 2022-2023 academic school year. The Common App already permits member schools and institutions to conceal certain data, such as gender, birthday, social security number, and test results. For the next school year, schools will now be able to conceal racial and ethnic identity. 

The update has received both criticism and praise.

Support For Changes To Affirmative Action In College Admissions

Affirmative action in higher education originated in the 1960s civil rights movement. It is the practice of considering student background characteristics, such as race, in the higher education application process. Some schools give preference to minority groups. While other schools automatically admit a percentage - usually the top 10% - of a high school's graduating class to assure diversity. Proponents of the change say it will allow schools to choose applicants based on merit rather than demographics. According to a Pew survey published in 2022, 74% of Americans believe race should not be considered in the college admissions process.

On October 31, 2022, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases involving race-based admissions. The two cases were Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. Over five hours of legal arguments, Supreme Court justices questioned current race-conscious admissions processes. Experts expect the Supreme Court's decision will reverse long-standing practices of some schools. 

The U.S. Supreme Court heard challenges to two race-conscious admission decisions on October 31, 2022. These cases were Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina. Experts suggest that the awaited ruling is likely to overturn the longstanding civil rights remedy. During more than five hours of legal arguments, six conservative Supreme Court justices expressed doubt about race-conscious admissions processes. 

The Common App leadership says that the coming update allows flexibility for schools to ensure they comply with any Supreme Court ruling on college admissions.

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.

The decision to hide race and ethnicity in the Common App helps to ensure that applicants are not judged based on any potential prejudice or stereotypes, while still allowing them to provide information about their racial and ethnic background if they see fit.

Source: News CDN2

Possible Consequences When Common App Hides Race And Ethnicity

The topic of concealing one's race and ethnicity has become a growing concern for many students and diversity activists. A minority student's race and ethnicity can influence their chances of admission to colleges with affirmative action programs. As a result, hiding those details could reduce their chances of being considered. Opponents of the idea believe that concealing race and ethnicity could diminish the representation of diverse ethnicities and races in each class. As a result, it could lead to unjust treatment of minority groups. 

Critics of the change argue that concealing race will make it harder for schools to find potential students from underrepresented backgrounds. If admissions personnel do take race and ethnicity into consideration, there may be less diversity in college admissions decisions. By concealing this information, organizations and institutions will also be less able to look at and track diversity in admissions. This is a real worry, as organizations must take this data into account to guarantee fair admissions policies.

How Changes May Affect Students If Common App Hides Race And Ethnicity - What Can You Do?

Students from minority groups should be aware of this update when applying to ensure that they are taking full advantage of all options available to them. Keep in mind that this Common App change is voluntary. Not all schools will choose to hide race and ethnicity information on applications. Students can contact an admissions office directly with questions or to learn if the school will suppress race or ethnicity on applications. At the end of the day, the Common App's new policy of hiding applicants' race and ethnicity has the potential to impact college admissions and diversity. It remains to be seen how the change will affect admissions policies at the Common App member institutions.

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