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How the Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision Impacts Students

Last updated May 15, 2024

In June 2023, the Supreme Court reversed affirmative action in college admissions. While this was a significant ruling, you may find yourself unsure of what it means for you and how it will affect your college applications. Here are some key things to know about how the Supreme Court affirmative action decision impacts students.

What is Affirmative Action?

Affirmative action was first introduced in 1961 through a Presidential Executive Order. Since then, it has been an important tool in higher education to help combat systemic racism. Affirmative action policies at colleges aimed to promote equal opportunities for underrepresented students by taking race into consideration during the admissions process. Not only did affirmative action programs create a pathway for more low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students to attend college, they also fostered diverse college campuses and learning environments.

The Supreme Court's Decision

In June 2023, the Supreme Court overruled affirmative action, stating that colleges and universities can no longer use race as a specific basis for granting admission. This decision overturns long-standing policies on college campuses and raises concerns about the potential impact on underrepresented students in higher education.

How This Decision Impacts You

While the Supreme Court's ruling will significantly limit the consideration of a student’s race during the admissions process, it's important to note that colleges can still consider other aspects of your background and experiences. Factors such as being multilingual or a first-generation college student can still be valued by admissions committees. Additionally, you can still discuss the impact of race and racism on your life in your admissions essay. The Supreme Court's decision does not prohibit universities from considering how race has influenced your life. In fact, universities encourage storytelling about your character and unique abilities, and how these aspects would contribute to their diverse communities.

There are also other ways to strengthen your college applications. For example, things like high SAT or ACT scores or experience in extracurricular activities can go a long way. Additionally, highlighting any awards or accolades you've received can show colleges that you are hard-working and dedicated.

Your Essay Matters More Than Ever

The end of affirmative action means that your college application essay matters more than ever. Your essay gives you a chance to reveal what your grades or test scores can't—your lived experience, personality, passions, and the unique perspectives you can bring to a college campus. Writing a personal college essay that demonstrates growth and explores your hopes for the future can go a long way in today's admissions landscape. It's important to take time to thoughtfully draft your essay and receive feedback before submitting it. 


Affirmative Action Demonstration in 2003 - How the Supreme Court Affirmative Action Decision Impacts Students

Getting Accepted

Because this ruling is relatively new, it's hard to definitively say how it has impacted the college admissions process as a whole. However, it’s completely understandable if you’re wondering if this decision will impact your chances of getting into college. While it may introduce new challenges, it is crucial to remember that you possess unique qualities and accomplishments that go beyond your racial identity. The court's decision does not diminish your worth or your academic or professional potential. You belong in college! We see you and are here to support you at every step of the way!

Have any questions about applying to college? Text #College to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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