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The Case for Diversity in College

It’s all over the news, and with good reason. There’s a need for diversity at US colleges and universities. Let’s take a closer look at what this means.

Nov 1, 2017
  • Student Tips
The Case for Diversity in College

It’s a buzzword for a reason, and it’s a hot topic at colleges and universities across the world: diversity.

Why? There’s still a lot of work to do.

With tensions flaring across racial, class, and gender lines across campuses in the US and the world, colleges and universities are looking at ways to encourage honest conversations about race, class, and gender.

A New York Times report from the summer shows that despite decades of affirmative action, black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented at top schools than they were 35 years ago.

While more Hispanic students attend elite schools, the increase does not reflect the surge in the young Hispanic population in the US. The number of black freshman at top schools hasn’t changed since 1980.

Let’s take a closer look at the case for diversity in college—and what schools can do to encourage positive outcomes.

It’s good for you

Group of friends walking on city street together at night

1. Diversity expands your worldview.

Anything that expands your worldview is good for you. Being around a diverse group of people with different backgrounds, values, mindsets, and goals forces you to see yourself in a different light.

2. Diversity teaches you to work in a global society.

Want to succeed after you graduate. Know that the world is big, and that there are a lot of people in it.

You will work with people from different backgrounds, countries, and belief systems.

Being exposed to a diverse group as an undergraduate sets you up for success in the global workplace.

Diverse People Community Togetherness Technology Music Concept

3. Diverse promotes creative thinking.

Think empathy. Your background with diverse populations will expand your capacity to understand people and problems from different vantage points. Instead of seeing the world through one lens, you’ll be able to apply many lenses.

Guess what? That leads to innovative solutions for complicated problems.

4. Diversity encourages you to be social.

Why? Humans are social being. We like to learn and we like to interact with others. The more experience you have with different groups of people on campus, the more comfortable you’ll feel in other social situations.

It’s good for the college

Just as diversity is good for you, it’s also good for your college.

Why? Homogenous thinking is dangerous because it fails to appreciate what other people think.

By embracing diversity, colleges and universities embrace a forum for multiple perspectives.

International students studying genetics

1. Colleges need to reflect the changes in the world.

By 2055, Pew research predicts that the US will have no clear racial or ethnic majority.

Colleges will have more diverse populations of students and will need to embrace differences more than they currently do.

By encouraging positive interactions among students of different backgrounds, colleges and universities can make themselves desirable, welcoming places for students to study peacefully together.

Team Huddle Harmony Togetherness Happiness Concept

2. Colleges are keys to economic success.

As the US becomes more diverse, the workforce becomes more diverse. Six years ago, a Forbes survey showed that 85 percent of respondents said diversity is crucial to the success of their business. That number has either remained the same or increased since then, with the growing diversity in the US.

A recent article in Fortune reported that “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have returns above national industry means.”

What does this mean? It means that companies depend on diversity for economic success.

When colleges and universities embrace diversity, they embrace the global model for economic vitality.