EDITORIAL: Improve the University’s scope for prospective students
On Sunday, the University welcomed admitted students and their families to campus, seeking to attract those students who will hopefully make up the next class of Brandeisians. While we welcome all new members of the Brandeis community, this board urges the University to focus efforts more on diverse admissions to campus.
According to an Oct. 17, 2016 Justice article, during an Oct. 7, 2016 faculty meeting, Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel announced that the University accepted 624 students of color in 2016, 137 of whom went on to enroll at the University. This is an increase from 105 first-year students of color who enrolled in 2014. However, even with the positive trend in the number of admissions and enrollments, the relatively slow rise over the past couple years for students of color may indicate a larger problem for the University. According to the same Justice article, the University started working with community-based groups for minority students to increase its outreach. “As a small university, we are very dependent on our Brandeis community to support recruitment and outreach efforts, far more so than many of the much larger schools with which we compete. The most powerful way our community can work towards our mutual goals of attracting more talented and diverse students to Brandeis is to support these efforts,” Flagel and Dean of Admissions Jennifer Walker said in a joint email to the Justice at the time. While outreach efforts are commendable, the Admissions Department and the University as a whole should be more proactive in taking the necessary steps to recruit underrepresented student populations, and one way of doing this would be to increase outreach efforts to underrepresented regions.
For example, through establishing rapports with guidance counselors in high schools across the country, more high school students from different regions would learn about and apply to Brandeis, thus improving regional diversity. Although immediate results may not be visible, patience and persistence will pay off. Using this tactic, the University can target recruitment in needed areas, such as middle America.
By targeting high schools in particular regions, the University will bring in students that are greatly diverse. This will bring in students of different socioeconomic backgrounds, mindsets and cultures, all from different places. If the goal is to ultimately make the University a microcosm of society as a whole, there needs to be a push to admit and enroll students of many different communities and backgrounds. This, in and of itself, is the ultimate goal of these efforts.
The University is on an upward trend regarding the number of students of color that are admitted to Brandeis and end up enrolling here. However, change needs to take place quicker than it has been. Therefore, this board urges the University to reach out to and recruit more students from different backgrounds in order to make this campus a more welcoming and more diverse place in the future.