Is it time to end affirmative action in college admissions? (Con)

Noah Pittarelli, Editor in Chief

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When first applying to colleges, there tends to be much chatter about affirmative action.

With the goal of leveling the playing field for those of all genders, races, ethnicity, affirmative action was established to allow for these criteria to be taken into account.

That seems like a good idea at first.

Yet in recent discussions, ranging from students in the classroom to as high up as civil cases in the Supreme Court, it is evident that this practice has flaws.

Yes, the goal in mind is a great one, and it does provide those people who may not typically have a shot at getting into a certain school of their choice an equal opportunity to do so.

What many supporters of this idea do not realize is that it does more reinforcing of the stigmas it sets out to destroy than actually eliminating them.

First, with a goal in mind to tear down discrimination, one should not adopt a plan that promotes it.

Affirmative action, by its nature, is set up to consider racial background as a factor in college admissions. When a choice of two applicants of the same academic level is contested, race is almost always used as a tiebreaker. This is where racial profiling is exhibited at its finest.

To break the tie, admissions officers should consider how the two students compare to other students in similar regions with similar high school experiences and use a formula to determine which of the two made the most of his or her environment. And if more is needed, look to the essays and personal experiences discussed. Determine which of the two students made the most of his or her personal situations.

Institutions should accept the top-tier students and not deny admission to a more qualified candidate in order to admit a less qualified candidate because of race or gender just to meet a quota or regulation.

To me, race and gender based decisions don’t truly create equality. We shouldn’t mix up equality and equity.

The reason to strive for equity would be because people aren’t starting on the same levels on their life expeditions in the first place.

In terms of accountability and the standards we set as a society, it is important to be proactive rather than reactive. Instead of working so hard to count students by gender and race so that we give everyone a fair shot at the college experience, we should work to stop the problem from its roots. Equity should start from the home, the neighborhood and the community, not the admissions office.

Ideally, every student’s high school environment should be equitable, with equal access to funds, courses and highly qualified and engaged educators. For now, sadly, that’s not the case.

So what to do?

The best stories are written when one overcomes the norm and defies the odds, so it seems quite counter productive to lessen the achievements of any individual student because a student with similar test scores and grades has a different racial or ethnic background or gender and is admitted.

Universities should recognize a person for his or her raw skill and persona, and take the candidates who rise above all the other candidates from similar geographical regions and circumstances.

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