Should I include my ethnicity on the MIT Application? by Bryan G. Nance
As a minority, how many times have you heard some off-handed comment about someone of color getting into college only because of their race?
As a minority, how many times have you heard some off-handed comment about someone of color getting into college because of their race? The implication, of course, is euphemistically known as affirmative action. You may be hesitant to report your ethnicity because you don’t want to be perceived as an “Affirmative Action admit.” Instead, you want it known that you were admitted on the basis of your merit.
So should you report your ethnicity or not?
Of course you should! Despite all the stereotypes and rumors to the contrary, being Black, Latino, Native, or any other minority is not enough to get you into any college or university, let alone MIT.
So why then do we ask for this information? Simple – it helps us to understand who you are – in context. Remember, we don’t get a chance to meet the vast majority of our applicant pool. We need to capture as much information as possible so that we can make an informed decision. You’ll hear me talk a lot about FIT & MATCH.
Think of your application as you would a giant, complicated jigsaw puzzle. Anyone worth a pound of Harrar coffee (coffee grown in Yemen or Harrar region of Ethiopia) knows the first step to “solving the puzzle” is connecting the corners and the outside border. Once the puzzle is framed, the remaining pieces are easier to connect. Crafting a class is similar – we go into painstaking detail to connect the right pieces.
Why is this piece of the puzzle so important? The truth is: ALL PIECES OF THE PUZZLE ARE IMPORTANT! Again, we evaluate each application in context, and the more context we have, the better.
Ultimately, it is your choice to decide what to include in your application. Certainly students who don’t report their ethnicity get admitted to MIT. If you are that passionate about not reporting the information, don’t. But remember, only you can have the pieces to make the puzzle complete.