Last Updated on August 7, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Harvard College Adapts Essay Requirements for High School Seniors in Light of Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action
Harvard College, one of the most prestigious institutions in the United States, is making changes to its essay requirements for high school seniors applying for admission. This decision comes as a response to the recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action, which has prompted colleges and universities across the country to reevaluate their admissions processes.
Under the new guidelines, applicants to Harvard College will now have to answer five questions instead of writing one optional essay. These questions will delve into the applicants’ life experiences, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and aspirations for the future. The objective is to gain a more comprehensive understanding of each candidate’s background and potential contributions to the institution.
The change in essay requirements is a direct response to the challenge that colleges face in promoting diversity while adhering to the ban on race-based admissions. The recent Supreme Court ruling allows universities to consider an applicant’s viewpoint on how race has affected their life, as long as it relates to their character or unique abilities. Harvard, along with the University of North Carolina, is one of the defendants in the case, prompting the institution to reassess its admissions policies.
Harvard is not the only university making adjustments in light of the ruling. The University of Virginia, another highly regarded institution, is also adapting its admissions approach. They are offering applicants an opportunity to explain their backgrounds and how their experiences will contribute to the school’s diverse community.
Interestingly, Sarah Lawrence College, located in New York, is incorporating the words of Chief Justice John Roberts into one of its essay prompts. They are asking applicants to reflect on how the Supreme Court’s decision might impact their goals for a college education, further demonstrating the significance of the ruling in the world of higher education.
As colleges and universities continue to navigate the complexities of promoting diversity while complying with legal restrictions, changes to essay requirements and admissions approaches are expected to become more widespread. It remains to be seen how these modifications will impact the admissions process and the composition of student bodies at prestigious institutions across the country.