Harvard Newspaper Editors Claim New College Application Hurts Those From ‘Marginalized Backgrounds’

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Mia Hernandez Contributor
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The editors of The Harvard Crimson published an editorial Tuesday claiming the school’s new admission application will hurt those with diverse experiences.

The editorial board for The Harvard Crimson criticized the school’s new college application, writing that it will negatively impact people from “marginalized backgrounds.” The article comes as a result of Harvard changing their application essay from  one optional open-ended essay and two short essays to five required short essays. (RELATED: Colleges Skirt Supreme Court Ruling Barring Race-Based Admissions By Asking About ‘Identity’)

The new essay responses have a 200-word limit which the editors claim is unreasonable, and that students will not be able to summarize their experiences and backgrounds within the word count limitation.

“Moreover, shortening the essays has a disparate impact that falls heaviest on those from marginalized backgrounds. Learning to package yourself within a shorter amount of space is a product of advanced education; longer essays more equitably allow applicants to discuss their experiences in full, particularly if they are from non-traditional backgrounds and require more space to elaborate on nuanced qualifications,” The Crimson Editorial Board wrote.

“But this year, with the end of race-based affirmative action in university admissions, applicants are facing an added uncertainty: the extent to which their diverse backgrounds can factor into their essays, and in turn, their admissions,” the editors wrote. “’Briefly describe an intellectual experience that was important to you.’ This question seemingly privileges applicants from well-resourced backgrounds for whom additional academic opportunities were plentiful in high school.”

Colleges and universities such as Johns Hopkins have been using questions in their application essays focused on identity to work around race-based admissions after the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ban.

The Biden administration urged colleges to consider how students’ race could contribute to the campus and that universities should target programs in an effort to maintain diversity on campus.

“As the Class of 2028 gets to writing, we mourn the loss of Harvard’s old application. However, the focus on retaining a diverse student body in the questions Harvard asks its applicants is a welcome supplement,” the editorial board concluded.