Admissions

Mixed Race Student Feels Dishonest Marking "Black" on Applications

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Question: I am starting my college applications now and I have a question. I am half white, half black, but I identify as white because I've never met my father (who is black). In filling out applications, my mother is encouraging me to mark that I am either black or mixed, but since I identify as white, I don't feel comfortable doing that. She believes it will give me an advantage to the schools where I'm applying and I think it's dishonest. Can you help?

Your mom is right. (Aren't mothers always right? ;-)) Claiming your African-American heritage on your applications could push your file closer to the “In" pile, especially at colleges where you are a borderline candidate, or at any hyper-competitive place (such as the Ivies) where thousands of strong applicants are turned away every year. But, nonetheless “The Dean" agrees with you! If you identify as being only white and if you would be uncomfortable indicating otherwise on your applications, you should go with the choice that feels like the honest one.

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