College Access & the Admissions Office

As a higher education professional who works with low-income, first-generation college students at a large, top-tier research university, I believe the admissions office plays the role of the “gatekeeper” in terms of providing access to prospective college students. Their practices and policies definitely lean in favor of those from higher income families who are more versed in the admissions process.

A recent article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Why the Admissions Office May Be Part of the Problem of College Access” discusses this issue.

“The admissions office, especially at highly selective institutions, is the agent that keeps these students out of college in the first place, by creating a game that is heavily skewed in favor of students from high-income, well-educated families.”

Like the author, who is also a higher education professional, I too believe that it is time to change the requirements and means of evaluating students for college admissions. Admissions requirements still weigh test scores as an indicator of college admissions by using scores to assess the success they believe students will have at their institutions. However, research should have taught us long ago, that low-income and/or minority students are are more likely to have lower standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, etc.), than their counterparts.

Additionally, other factors such as class rank (which can be heavily based on the amount of AP (Advanced Placement), IB (International Baccalaureate) or honors courses students take, depending on the schools and their methods of calculating grade point averages and ratios), letters of recommendation, legacy status, and extracurricular activities are also weighted heavily. But what if a student from a lower socioeconomic status (SES) background had to work after school to provide for himself and contribute to the family income, and was unable to be involved in extracurricular activities? what if that same student was first-generation and no one ever talked to him about the importance of networking, building relationships with college officials, high school counselors, admissions reps, teachers etc. in order to get a great letter of recommendation or proofread his admissions essays? And what if that student made all A’s in all of his classes, but did not have the chance to graduate in the top 10% of his high school class because he was not in AP or IB classes? Finally, what if he did not have the money or additional resources needed for ACT or SAT prep classes, so he did not make high scores on his exams? Does he not deserve to be admitted into a selective university? Does his lack of money and social capital automatically mean that he will not succeed in college? After all, he did maintain high grades while being employed and taking on family responsibilities at home, which can sometimes make it more difficult to manage time effectively than students who are involved in clubs and organizations.

According to the article, if institutions want to continue to increase the enrollment of first-generation, low-income, or minority students, there should be an expectation that the admissions offices do more. I agree, but I also add, that additional measures and services must be implemented to support students before they set foot on campus, while they are learning how to navigate the college environment during their first-year, and beyond. These students come with a unique set of challenges that begin once they accept admission, and these challenges must be addressed not underscored or dumped into student affairs or students services offices. Academic affairs must also assist. It should be the interest of everyone entity on campus that has a connection with the students to understand and accommodate their unique needs, if the mission of the institution truly endeavors to provide them with the best education and opportunity for development possible.

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education http://chronicle.com/article/Why-the-Admissions-Office-May/150883/ 

 

 

On this Day in 1964….

On this day in 1964,  Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize.

MLK

Acceptance Speech Transcript,  Martin Luther King Jr.- December 10, 1964

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice. I am mindful that only yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs and even death. I am mindful that only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeking to secure the right to vote were brutalized and murdered. And only yesterday more than 40 houses of worship in the State of Mississippi alone were bombed or burned because they offered a sanctuary to those who would not accept segregation. I am mindful that debilitating and grinding poverty afflicts my people and chains them to the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.

Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace …

After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time – the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama to Oslo bears witness to this truth. This is a road over which millions of Negroes are travelling to find a new sense of dignity. This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new Civil Rights Bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a super highway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems.

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. “And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid.” I still believe that We Shallovercome!

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.

Today I come to Oslo as a trustee, inspired and with renewed dedication to humanity. I accept this prize on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood. I say I come as a trustee, for in the depths of my heart I am aware that this prize is much more than an honor to me personally.

Every time I take a flight, I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible – the known pilots and the unknown ground crew.

So you honor the dedicated pilots of our struggle who have sat at the controls as the freedom movement soared into orbit. You honor, once again, Chief Lutuli of South Africa, whose struggles with and for his people, are still met with the most brutal expression of man’s inhumanity to man. You honor the ground crew without whose labor and sacrifices the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth. Most of these people will never make the headline and their names will not appear in Who’s Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvelous age in which we live – men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization – because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness’ sake.

… peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners – all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty – and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold

Source: Nobelprize.org

As the protests mount

I have been thinking about this, and I believe that the fear and intimidation that the cops use on US is the same that they use on everyone else. they intimidate all parties into submission, because the last thing anyone wants is their dogs off the leash. Since there is no citizen oversight, because the citizens are scared of each other, they think that at least if we have the cops on our sides, then we can keep the blacks from getting us! they are our only defense! So blacks and browns and some no good whites get murdered because they cannot undermine the ability of the police to use the force they deem necessary in the field, because if they do, then we’ll get them and we are also putting the lives of cops in danger.

its total bovine feces. It makes me angry and it just goes to show how pathological this country is. Fear rules every decision that they make which is why they are so morally corrupt and bankrupt of any real value(s).

Shared Posts #1: The price of being Black and “OK”

A friend of mine sent me an email with a link to this post and I had to share it! I believe it is powerful, thought provoking, beautiful, scary, and true. As an academic working at an institution that is considered to be “elite” within the state and has national prestige, I often question my worth, my work, my progress, and sense of belonging here on campus and within the “college town” community where I live. I also often wonder how what I am doing, or not doing for “my people” impacts black lives. Finally, in lieu of recent events in this country involving racial matters, I have been pondering the question “What is the price that we as Black people in America must pay in order to be ok?”

Please read, comment, and share!

Link: My Vassar College Faculty ID Makes Everything OK

Student Record Privacy

If anyone is versed in FERPA laws and regulations, perhaps you could help me to figure this out….In a New York Times article on privacy in education, the creators of a behavioral tracking software called ClassDojo have implemented a new policy to only hold student records for a year and then they will be deleted. For me, it seems that the issue that would come into play would be regarding the “sensitive” and “confidential” records that are being kept by a third-party company who is responsible for the administration of the database at educational institutions. Is this not the kind of information that historically has been kept on file longer, but also has been kept “in-house?’ In the age of information security breaches and social media, what would happen if a student became someone important in society (let’s say a celebrity because we are that vain in how we view important people), and somehow the student’s behavioral records were “accidentally leaked” to the public? Not only would this be a violation of FERPA, but it could prove to be an interesting issue in the future; but perhaps only saving the records for 1 year would seek to mitigate these potential issues instead of keeping a permanent file that could be leaked, released, or tampered with in the future. Still, it would seem that holding this kind of information gives people who do not have an “educational need to know” as defined in FERPA policies access to confidential records about a student. Is this beneficial or potentially harmful for educational entities?

 

Link to Article: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/18/classdojo-adopts-deletion-policy-for-student-data/?_r=0

More information on FERPA (Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act) visit http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html

 

 

Thought of the Weekend

Though people may make it difficult to get a good education, find a good job, and place many other obstacles between non-whites and success, they are not stopping anyone from doing anything.
No one is forcing kids to drop out of school, no one is forcing people to commit crimes. Perhaps what we should be thinking about is why are these such a popular choices?

The Tale of an HBCU with a 90% White Student Population

Bluefield college 5

One of the most interesting stories regarding Higher Education that I have come across recently is about an HBCU, Bluefield State (Historically named Bluefield Colored Institute), that now has a 90% White student population. I must admit, that I have never come across any other stories on the history of the declining Black student population at this institution, nor have I ever heard much about it at all. But it was both shocking and sad to learn what has come of the legacy of this institution. Below is the link to what I read about it. I encourage you to read it and comment if you would like to share your thoughts!

The Whitest Historically Black College in America- Link

Bluefield state 4Bluefield 1Bluefield 2Bluefield 3

Closing the “color” Gap in Public Schools: An open discussion

How can we increase the population of minority public school educators and administrators in this country? Our schools are populated with students of color, but few educators of color to teach and lead them…. For more details on this alarming problem, see the following article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/03/student-teacher-demographics_n_5738888.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000595 Please feel free to provide comments.

 

The Mike Brown “Special”

Are you disturbed yet? Are you really understanding what has been going on in our society for decades? Do you truly understand the social injustices that continue to occur? That we are NOT a “post-racial” society? That systems of power, privilege, and oppression are still in full force? Wake Up, Realize, Learn, Challenge the system, become a Change Agent!

Mike Brown Special