One aspect of the college experience that is often overlooked, but is nonetheless important for students, is the campus’ diversity and multiculturalism. What does this mean? It means that the entire campus values the perspective of people from all different types of backgrounds.
Diversity is traditionally about race, ethnicity, and gender, but it also includes sexual orientation, religion, age, and socioeconomic status. By going to a college that values diversity and multiculturalism in their students, faculty, and administrative staff, students will be better prepared for a global society.
Why diversity is important to the university
For the university, diversity means that the campus is viewed as a welcoming environment for anyone who wants to apply. Having an inclusive mission at an educational institution says something progressive and important about their campus that they value diversity and will allow their students to express themselves as they see fit.
A university’s mission statement will usually include some type of inclusive language about their educational philosophy, and if it doesn’t then you should look further into why they don’t. National development relies on a society that is inclusive and accepting of diverse populations, so most every college will have this language.
Don’t just accept their mission statement at face value, though. Look into their student activities, clubs, and campus organizations to make sure there are funds and students dedicated to a mission that are also important to you, for example, an LGBTQ+ office or Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Why diversity is important to your college experience
Multiculturalism and diversity is vitally important to your college experience because it will help prepare you for the real world. College may very well be the first time you have been exposed to certain cultural groups, and believe it or not, this happens in various degrees for all students alike. Whether it be your dorm-mate’s religion that you’ve never heard of or your teacher’s race, learning about other cultures is essential to being a successful adult.
Plus, learning experiences aren’t just about your fellow students’ race or ethnicity, it also is about just simply being around different people than you. How boring would life be if you only talked to people who were exactly like you? College is as much about experiencing new things as it is about getting a degree.
You will learn a lot from your interactions outside of the classroom, especially from those who people who have a different perspective about the world than you. Multiculturalism is hard to measure quantitatively, but even so, no one would disagree that it is important to be a successful and well-rounded individual.
How multicultural recruiting affects when you apply to college
Because diversity is important to colleges, it may affect your chances of getting into the college of your choice, especially if it is a top ranked university. Though colleges don’t explicitly state diversity’s importance on an admissions packet, they will take into consideration information you provide that has to do with your race, gender, religion, and socioeconomic status.
Colleges will usually be actively exploring ways to recruit more African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students in particular, as these are the groups that tend to be underrepresented in higher education. Financial aid packages will also play a role in terms of the college’s ability to offer help to lower-income students. Another thing that can help students get into college is whether or not they are the first in their family to attend college. All of these aspects can be given in one way or another in your application, statement of purpose, of personal statement.
As you are applying to college, consider their mission to provide education to diverse populations, diversity in their faculty, and their dedication to multiculturalism. Being able to learn from and experience people who are different from you and you haven’t been in contact with before will help you in ways you won’t understand until you graduate and begin working in the real world, where diversity is reality.