What kinds of obstacles do minorities face in higher education?

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Our counselors answered:

What kinds of obstacles do minorities face in higher education?

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

there are many obstacles to name them at once

yes, it is true that many colleges are seeking out minorities with underpreviliged background and unrepresentation of the student bodies. it is also true that that the majority of highly selective schools are having less than 5% minorities. Chinese students are not classified as miniorities. college access is one of the major obstacles, college success is another major obstacles. they are related closely and impact the students before and after admisisons. if monitities are not encourged to apply and helped with the admisisons process, most likely, they will not be considered for admissions. if the monities are not prepared and selected the wrong school, they most likely to drop out college during the first two years.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Score Board

In my work with students of color, the most obvious obstacle is standardized testing. The inherent bias against minorities amid these tests are proven every year in the national results. Thankfully, nearly 850 US colleges have chosen to go "test optional" (visit fairtest.org to view the list) making testing a non-issue for any student that struggles with test anxiety or poor test results due to background or learning style. The obstacles to gain access are many for minorities, but remember, we can throw stones, climb over stones or build with stones.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Cost of College Increasing Faster Than Inflation

According to NPR, the cost of college tuition and other expenses his risen faster than the rate of inflation over the past decade. Unfortunately, many students must worry about more than just the competition to gain entry into college, but also how they will pay tuition if they do get in. The situation seems to intensify the gap between wealthy families and those who struggle. Too often, students allow the thought of the financial burden to dictate their choices. While this might seem like the most reasonable way to approach the college admissions process, it also speaks to the overall perspective of our society. After all, countless people with no means at all somehow managed to rise out of the depths of poverty and graduate from some of the finest schools in the nation. George Mitchell, a United States Senator who served as the Senate Majority Leader from 1989 to 1995 worked several jobs throughout college in order to attend. In fact, a lot of people today who appear to have endless financial resources worked tirelessly to catch up with those who enjoyed a more privileged upbringing. Diligence can define a person's character and the same academic work ethic that opens the ivy gates to a small percentage of students will also ignite a fire for those students who struggle financially but will do whatever necessary to successfully graduate. Remember, when deciding your future; where there is a will, there is a way. Money will always come and go, but an education lasts a lifetime. (Not to mention the fact that the most prestigious schools are also the wealthiest and usually "need-blind".)

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

What kinds of obstacles do minorities face in higher education?

The single biggest obstacle is a historical legacy of minorities not persuing--or in mnay cases not beign allowed to pursue--higher education, and that lack of background leads to misunderstanding and confusion today. That being said, currently, there is no single obstacle to minorities seeking a college education. Indeed, at a time when the value of diversity in education is being recognized, there may arguably be some benefit to being a minority, for in the same way a particular skill or passion may enhance an applicant’s prospects, the perspective that a minority student can bring to the academic discourse may be viewed positively by admissions offices seeking to differentiate between strong candidates as they try to create a diverse community that will enhance the educational experience of all. In general, minority status like so many other thing, will play out differently at different schools based on what they are looking for .

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What kinds of obstacles do minorities face in higher education?

The same ones they face in life - some more, some less.

Angela Conley
College Admission Expert VentureForth

What kinds of obstacles do minorities face in higher education?

The word minority has different meanings in different settings. As regards higher education, students of color are not well represented in post-secondary institutions as compared with their majority race counterparts. Considering apparent obstacles four come to mind, first and foremost the challenge students often face is questioning by peers about their right to engage higher education, to even be in college. A huge challenge faced by first generation students of color is a deficit in language breadth and usage because parents and guardians lacked education and did not encourage, affirm or make available the stimuli to build a strong vocabulary. Thirdly is money and while this seems surprising, money to attend, without a strong skill set creates a high dropout rate. Finally, awareness is an enormous problem. Many first generation families with whom I consult are unaware of the CommonApp, scholarships beyond those based on GPA or post-secondary institutions that do not require an SAT. Since only 30% of black families have access to the internet, they often do not know how to identify reliable sites or assess the enormous amount of information available. Although I list four main concerns, multiple other issues contribute. However, it is my sense that the four aforementioned are all aspects stemming from these four categories.

Megan Dorsey
SAT Prep & College Advisor College Prep LLC

What kinds of obstacles do minorities face in higher education?

Minorities face the same challenges in higher education that they face in other areas of life. There may be certain colleges where minority students feel excluded because there are few professors or fellow students who share their racial or ethnic background. Some students don’t mind being one of the few minority students in a class or university, but others feel out of place. Consider how important it is for you to have a large or diverse student population as you evaluate schools.