Students discuss college

Juniors Nathan Gustafson, Camila Rodriguez-Sardina, Montserrat Lopez and seniors Abigail Strickland, and Mar-kinson Alume sit and discuss how backgrounds- things like ethnicity religion, sexuality, and race affect how colleges choose to view them as applicants, and how it will affect them as people in society.

March 29, 2018

Students discuss college

CAMILA: I feel like it would be a disadvantage if you’re not the most unique because sometimes people with unique backgrounds could get into the better colleges because they don’t have their kind of groups in those schools so they want to see something different. But stereotypes do play a big role in how people see people like African Americans or His-panics who are seen as lazy so that might affect it. Even though they might not even be that kind of person, they might be really smart, and it would be a huge help to the college financially, but the college still might not take the person because of their background.

MONTSE: So it might be difficult depending on the person because maybe the college has like some quota they have to reach which could affect you. They could literally see your last name and not want you because of that. I would say things like sexual orientation and gender are very touchy subjects for people. If a college in another state asks you for these things it really depends on where the college is located, how accepting the people are. Say you might fear discrimination… and things like that.

ABIGAIL: Just actually getting accepted into the college isn’t good enough be-cause there are certain states I don’t want to live in. I’m transgender by the way.

MONTSE: Same. I would get college applications from places like Alabama and the south. I’m really queer, I’m not going to try and go to some place that’s, like, notoriously homophobic and not accepting of people like us. Which is why I’m glad Florida tends to be more open to people like us. If I got a letter I wouldn’t apply depending on where it would be, especially the south. Being part of the LGBT group really affects where you want to go.

MARKINSON: I want to touch on the background a little bit because people come from different backgrounds. So maybe people are more financially unstable, or they may not be open to opportunities depending on where they come from which can hinder their support.

MONTSE: Colleges that are historically black or colleges that are historically white, it really depends because you never know the people you’re going to be with unless you make assumptions. A lot of untouched boundaries.

NATHAN: I feel like colleges should be not based on race or gender or sexual orientation, it should be based on how you do academically and the extracurriculars that you’re involved in.

MONTSE: Ideally, that’s something that I think we should all aim for. But the people who make these processes happen make it difficult for other people out there. That’s sad, especially for people who don’t exactly fit into the social norm.

MARKINSON: Do you think it’s easier or harder for people of color to get into colleges and get scholarships and why?

CAMILA: I think it’s harder because sometimes they might not have the same help and support from their family. For example, sometimes your family might want you to babysit for your sibling and they might need help in the house. It might be harder to do schoolwork and extracurricular things that you should do to get into college, and usually people of color have limited support.

MARKINSON: I would say yes and no because I feel scholarships are out there for everyone and there are opportunities to take on. So I would say no, it’s not harder for scholarships, but to get into college may be a little harder. When I apply I look at the race percentages. Almost every college except HBCU always have a small amount of black people. Black people are sometimes financially unstable and they don’t always have as much support but I feel like if you’re good at school and you have a good GPA it shouldn’t have to be a problem.

MONTSE: Yeah I agree.

MARKINSON: Usually when we apply we aren’t thinking, “oh crap I’m black”. I feel I should be thinking about my test scores and my SAT and trying to reach those standards set.

MONTSE: I shouldn’t have to ask myself, “will I get murdered if I go here?”. I should be focused on just academics not everything else and how it might affect me that’s too much. It sounds like a big extreme but that’s a legitimate thought that I personally have. Always look at the demographic.

MARKINSON: Exactly, I know black people that go to Harvard so that really proves to you that what race you are doesn’t matter. It depends on whether you can perform on that level.

NATHAN: Do you feel like there’s low percentages of colored or other than white people at colleges because there are less applicants or because those people are less inclined financially due to tuition?

NATHAN: Colleges do have like a quota to meet so they have to have a certain amount of people other than white people. So if there is a white person who is at the same performance level as a person of color and the college hasn’t yet reached the quota, they may choose the person of color. So would it be easier? I feel like in that instance it is easier.

MONTSE: I don’t feel completely comfortable knowing that my future is in the hands of people reviewing my applications because even though they aren’t supposed to be biased many times they still are and that’s where race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and all that other nonsense start weighing in. Do you think it’s unfair that supposedly it’s easier for us (people of color) to get into college?

NATHAN: I don’t think it’s unfair. To me it’s more like there are so many colleges that I could do the same thing as you since I also have a fair opportunity as a white person. If I have the grades I know we are going to receive basically the same education, so I don’t feel that there have really been many white people jipped out of a whole college education be-cause they’re white. I don’t think it’s that serious to the point where white people are being mistreated. I think it’s more that the colleges are filling these quotas because they want to look more diverse.

ABIGAIL: For me to also weigh in on that as a white student, I just feel like it’s not un-fair because of the education I’ve gotten in the past. Just, I’ve had a lot of advantages since there are a couple schools near me, there was one that was really good and one that was re-ally bad and it was…the really good one was almost all white and just how they did the zoning for the neighborhoods. That’s definitely a factor that weighed in on everything. There’s a lot of advantages early on that you might not think about while applying to college so it’s like, for me at least, any disadvantage that could have happened was eliminated.

MONTSE: We do have to deal with these things throughout our lives for sure. These aren’t problems that just apply with the application process. We have to deal with ethnicity and sexual orientation and all those things.

NATHAN: The schools you go to when you’re in elementary school or middle school shape who you become in high school and that can definitely affect you in the future.

MARKINSON: Yeah, that’s why I said we all experience different things and we don’t al-ways have the same advantages.

ABIGAIL: How parents raise their kids is also a big factor. Poverty and parental involvement can also be a big influence.

MONTSE: As we get older, we start to realize that things are a lot harder, especially when it comes to college. The education sys-tem starts you out small and then things start getting bigger and harder.

Even I’m scared that I might not get into college because no one in my family has yet and I would be the first one. That’s a lot to fulfill. And my mother is a single Hispanic lady that works in a job she hates and I want to get into college for her, but I don’t want to depend on her because she’s already had this difficult life and I don’t want to make it harder. People who have similar lives as me might also want to apply to more colleges and that goes to show how articulate the process is because again background affects you and a lot de-pends on your financial stability.

All these judgments are already made on you from the second they see your last name. There are just so many factors that affect us and it’s scary.

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