You are here: Home » Culture » Affirmative Action

Affirmative Action

Being a child of extremely disciplined parents, I have always worked by the motto, “Hard work pays off.” I devote a plethora of hours to school, clubs, and volunteering in order to ultimately surpass other college applicants. Senior year is a vast playing field upon which millions of competitors, who have trained for years, participate in a grave game to win the ultimate prize: an acceptance letter from an excellent university. As of late, however, I have been questioning whether these competitors focus on all the wrong things. What if the years of endless training are not enough to win this prize? What if those who are given the prize are not necessarily “winners”? From my experience in high school, I have learned that, despite the fact that some individuals spend their entire lives constructing their futures, there is nothing one can do to secure his place in a college of top choice. Good grades and extracurricular activities will simply not suffice for ensuring a position in a reputable university. Ultimately, what matters is ethnicity.

Ethnicity has become a driving factor in college acceptances because of affirmative action. Accepting students in order to fill a racial quota is like filling random letters in a crossword puzzle just to call it “finished”. It is ridiculous. The letters do not create legitimate words; they are simply fillers. These “filler words” often result in the admission of unqualified racial minorities (Hispanics, Latinos, and Native Americans). They stroll into elite universities that are not fitting to their educational standards just because they meet the demographic criteria of the schools. By no means am I saying that racial minorities are as a whole unqualified to attend prestigious universities. I am simply bringing attention to the issue of ill­prepared students being accepted into highly sophisticated schools merely to diversify the student population. Only those who work hard deserve these college admissions. Diversity should certainly not be a barrier to students who are actually entitled to admissions into distinguished schools.

As colleges begin to operate more like businesses rather than educational institutions, they are bringing increased attention to the issue of diversity and consequentially are losing their merit statuses. I even witnessed this very racist issue with my own eyes. Imagine two students: one leads several clubs, plays tennis, plays several instruments, has a 2200 SAT score, volunteers endlessly at the hospital, and earns a GPA of 97.0. The other plays football, has a 2000 SAT score, and earns a GPA of 93.0. Which student is admitted into Cornell? Student number two.

What could possibly make student two a more attractive choice than student one? The answer, once again, is ethnicity. Student two is one­eighth Native American and therefore will diversify the Cornell student population. So, despite his obvious relative incompetence when compared to student one (who is Asian), he is still admitted into the elite Ivy league, while the other student is rejected from every Ivy league university. One’s race should not seem advantageous or disadvantageous when applying to colleges. That is unfair, wrong, and, in this particular case, ill­deserving of the Asian student.

Therefore, college admissions must be colorblind. In this way, universities will retain their merit statuses, and students’ academic abilities will adhere to the academic standards of universities in which they have the greatest potential to excel. Also, students should not be feeling “lucky” or “unlucky” because of their respective races. One should be proud of his ethnicity, and colleges should not hinder this pride through unnecessary policies such as affirmative action. We live in one of the most desegregated nations in the world, and race­conscious college admissions do not need to be put into use to affirm this. Merit­based admissions are the best way to cultivate a generation of bright, successful adults, and colleges must transition to this policy if they want to maintain their sophisticated standings. In our country, people dedicate their entire lives to training for the game to win the highly regarded prize. For some, this prize will be their magnum opus*. Do we really want affirmative action to crush the American dream?