For the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the college admissions process and I’ve really challenged myself in terms of answering the questions of what can college provide for me to prepare for the world and what do I personally value in my higher education. I wanted to write this article as a response to my original take on affirmative action and try to see if I am able to moreso justify or defend certain practices within society today that I may have deemed problematic before.
My initial approach to the issue of affirmative action was too premised on understanding or trying to criticize the process of which colleges use to admit individuals, but I never considered what their end goal is. And I think that considering the end goal within the process is something I should take into consideration before making a final judgment on whether or not affirmative action is a policy that is necessarily “racist” or “unjust.” Through this reflection, I’ve come to realize that colleges try to provide an environment that allows for not only the academic growth of their students, but their personal growth as well. And that pursuit of personal growth entails certain aspects of being able to interact with the world around you. This real world interaction is what I looked over initially and I hope to try to find a common ground with my original beliefs.
The first point of conflict that I pressed upon was what does college offer a student that homeschooling or being educated outside of an academic setting does not. The answer is simply the college provides an environment that is designed to replicate the work place and to mirror environments that students will face after they leave the academic atmosphere. If schools were to only accept students based on merit or intellectual diversity, that would ultimately fail to replicate the diversity present in the world after school. The world around us is not a replication of intellectual diversity, but much rather, a diversity of backgrounds and experiences that are not reflected through the background of mere intellect.
One may ask, “what is the brightline for colleges trying to replicate the real world in terms of diversity?” I don’t know and I certainly don’t think it necessarily matters. The purpose of schools is provide an opportunity for students to get exposed to the real world and not only to provide the education necessary for them to be able to produce work within that environment. I believe that this is a view of affirmative action that I have not looked at before and has really challenged me to rethink the way I perceive affirmative action as a policy as how it incorporates students into the real world around us.