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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern to consider race in admissions through essays, compliant with Supreme Court ruling

Daily file illustration by Olivia Abeyta
The University said students will have the option of disclosing their race and ethnicity in admissions essays.

Northwestern will consider the race and ethnicity of applicants who choose to disclose their identities in their admissions essays, the University said in a question and answer about its admissions process published Thursday. 

While NU will no longer require applicants to disclose their race or ethnicity, the school says it will continue to consider how race has affected the experiences of applicants while reading their essays. 

“Consistent with the majority opinion, our admissions process will take into consideration how race has affected applicants’ lives ‘through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise,’” the University said. “We will take into consideration in our admissions decisions the obstacles students have surmounted as well as how their experiences can contribute to our academic community.”

Thursday’s Q&A further clarified NU’s approach to considering race in admissions following the June Supreme Court decision that ended race-conscious admissions. 

The Q&A did not say whether students who disclose their race or ethnicity would face an advantage or disadvantage in the application, but encouraged students to “complete their application to foreground the personal experiences, qualities and goals they most want to share with the admissions committee.”

It also acknowledged that the University will continue to collect data on applicants’ race and ethnicity for required reporting and historical records, though noted admissions officers will no longer have access to that information when reviewing applicants. 

The Q&A also informed prospective students that they may continue to list their participation in identity-based or cultural organizations in their applications.

While the University said Thursday it cannot predict how the ruling will impact the makeup of the student body, it noted that other universities have reported a decrease in racial and ethnic diversity after being prohibited from considering race in their admissions processes. NU said it will review data on demographics following the decision and continue adjusting its processes—compliant with the decision—to maintain diversity in the student body.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jacob_wendler

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