Pros and Cons of Highlighting Ethnicity in College Admission Essays

If you’re about to start working on your college admission essays, you’re most likely wondering about which of the wide variety of college essay topics to focus on.  Your ethnicity or race may be one that you’re pondering on, and indeed, it has been a theme that has been used by many incoming college students before.  Like other topics, though, talking about your ethnicity has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Affirmative action and how it relates to college admissions

The term affirmative action is used to refer to policies that consider gender, race, or ethnicity to promote equal opportunity.  Affirmative action has its own benefits, and in the case of college admissions, it enables schools to have a diverse student body in which students can learn much about different cultures and interact with peers who are of a different race or ethnicity than they are.  What’s great about affirmative action is that it prevents disadvantages that may otherwise affect individuals that belong to a minority.  Schools that implement affirmative action typically have more non-Caucasian students than schools that do not implement affirmative action.

Pros of ethnicity-themed college application essays

When you write about your ethnicity, the admissions committee will know that you can contribute to diversity in the campus if they accept you.  You have to keep in mind, though, that even though the school you’re applying to implements affirmative action, you still need to craft an excellent college admission essay to be accepted.  What’s good about writing a college admission essay with ethnicity as a theme is that you will be able to show your readers how much your ethnicity has made an impact on your life.  Make sure that your essay lets your readers know who you are and where you come from, as well as what you’d like to do with your life.  In case you have leadership potential for your ethnic group or community, you should also talk about this as well.  This way, the admissions officers will get to know more about your personal life and what you do with your time.

Cons of ethnicity-themed college admission essays

One disadvantage of writing a college admission essay that tackles the subject of ethnicity is that admissions officers might think that you’re relying only on your ethnicity to get accepted.  Individuals belonging to minority groups are often disadvantaged, because they are more likely to be discriminated against or have a hard time trying to fit in.  Talking about your obstacles and adversities may be good because it would give admissions officers an idea of the life experiences you have had, but make sure that you don’t turn your essay into a sob story.  Instead of just focusing on the adversities you’ve faced because of your ethnicity, focus instead on how you have turned these adversities into opportunities, or how you have triumphed over them.

Tips for writing college admission essays

If you have no idea how a college admission essay should look like, then you might want to check out some sample college admission essays.  These can be found on the Internet, and you can get ideas from reading these.  You should also make sure that your essay is free from both typographical and grammatical errors, and it should be interesting and personal.

Nancy Haverford is the owner of a website providing sample college admission essays. She also edits and revises college admission essays and gives advice to incoming college students.

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