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UVA receives record minority applicants

institution administration


University of Virginia


- experimental

UVA receives record minority applicants

What this might mean for the University looking forward...

Staci McKean


It's no secret that, over the past few years, diversity on college campuses has grown into a heated debate. Historically, institutions of higher education were limited to upper-class, white males, yet, in recent decades admission has opened to all genders and all races. These changes have caused a garnered shift in the ideologies of these colleges and universities, and many are now dubbed 'liberal hotbeds,' hinting at a shift to more progressive thought processes within it's students and faculty.

Even so, the debate regarding diversity on college campuses is still one of dissatisfaction within the system. UVA is not exempt from this and is, in fact, a prime example of a university whose statistics point to a large problem with the diversity of their students.

However, this may be changing.

Peabody Hall houses the office of Undergraduate Admissions at UVA

An article released by UVA reported that preliminary data showed a record number of applicants to the University for a third year in a row. Not only that, but the applications received included the "most-ever minority and first-generation college students" for the University.

Here are some statistics, according to the article.

Out of 37,188 applicants...

  • 11,379 were minorities (4% increase from 2017)
  • 4,483 were first generation students (10% increase from 2017)
  • 2,804 African-American students (3% decrease from 2017, but 35% increase from 2013)
  • Less than 10% increases in Asian, Native American, and Hispanic students from 2017

So, what do these numbers mean for the University, as well as it's future?

There are both pros and cons to this information. At first glance, these numbers may seem extremely small, and yes, they are. These increases are by no means large numbers, and, in fact, may do little to change the face of the University.

At current, according to College Board statistics submitted by the university, UVA, in the 2017-18 school year, was still a majority white university, with over 50% of it's student population identifying as white. The next largest population was Asian identifying students, coming in at just a mere 14%. African-American students and Hispanic students come in at 7%, and statistics for Native American students are not even reported.

From left: 3rd year, Irena Kesselring, 3rd Year, Kimery Lynch

Third Year, Irena Kesselring (pictured above) believes that "The University attempts to make an effort to promote diversity, but I feel that there still isn't truly enough diversity in the student and faculty population as a whole".

These numbers point to a problem not only within the University admissions system, but in our nations schooling system over all. UVA, itself, is still stuck in it's historical trend, thus skewing it's student populations, but multiple factors are preventing greater change in these populations, including rising tuition costs, the threat of student debt, and the unavailability of resources to students of lower socio-economic status. These lower socio-economic statuses tend to mainly affect minority and first-generation students, which often dissuade them from applying to larger institutions like UVA.

If the University wishes to continue these upward trends and is really fighting for an increase in diversity on Grounds, then it is up to the leaders of this University to provide better opportunities and resources for these students, including better payment options and scholarship opportunities. It is up to the admissions department on whether they are going to allow these diverse students into this community. Diversity is the key to a growing institution, as it promotes a garden of diversity in thought and ideologies, exposing more students of various backgrounds to more differing opinions.

"A diverse population is vital to fostering acceptance and eliminating prejudice," Kesselring says.

A sign promoting diversity hangs above Charlottesville in August.

These numbers, while small, and perhaps insignificant at the present time, are indicating a growing shift within the UVA student community. Students are inspired by this University, and they want to change it for the better and add to it.

After the events of August 12th, there seemed to be a lingering tension over the University of whether or not UVA would constantly be stuck in its past, unable to change. These numbers show that to be false, and that the students are ready for and want change. These applicants aren't afraid of what this University used to be, but are rather looking to the future and ready to be a part of what it could be.

It's up to the University to give them this opportunity as well as to give the same opportunity to applicants in years to come.