Preparing for College

Outlawing Affirmative Action

One of the quicker ways to start an argument these days is to bring up the issue of Affirmative Action (AA), as it applies to college admissions. For those of you who may have just beamed down from Jupiter, here is a definition of AA taken from no less a source than the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “Affirmative action" means positive steps taken to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded. When those steps involve preferential selection—selection on the basis of race, gender, or ethnicity—affirmative action generates intense controversy.

I can vouch for that "generates intense controversy" part. All you have to do is search the College Confidential discussion forum for the term "affirmative action" and you'll find a huge number of highly emotional comments from all sides of the AA argument. For example, here's one thread that has over 600 comments regarding race in college admissions. There are many others. The bottom line seems to be that many (most?) people feel that gaining an advantage in the highly competitive world of college admissions (especially in so-called "elite" admissions) due to race, ethnicity, or gender is just not fair.

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