“We don’t want people selecting themselves out of the process because we’re asking questions they feel are putting themselves and their family in jeopardy”
Is there anything else we can do to make it easier for people in the U.S. illegally to attend our colleges? How about free tuition?
USA Today reports:
Immigration Qs on college applications were causing ‘panic attack.’ So Common App is changing.
Applying for college can be one of the most stressful parts of a high schooler’s life. It entails hours of document wrangling, rewriting the same personal essay over and over and prepping for high-stakes tests.
For many immigrant students like Shavanah Ali, a college application can also feel like a risk to their personal safety. Ali’s mother had always told her to avoid mentioning her immigration status. She is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows her to stay in the U.S. despite arriving here illegally as a child. But when applying for colleges, she was required to disclose this information to dozens of strangers. Any time she did, Ali worried she or a member of her family might find themselves in the middle of deportation.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” said Ali, now a junior at the University of Maryland. “Being undocumented is really unpredictable.”
Starting in fall 2021, the application used by more than 900 colleges will be revised, in hopes of being less unwelcoming toward students like Ali.
Officials behind the Common Application found students who had to answer questions about citizenship and immigration status were often less likely to finish their application. Applications among U.S. citizens and international students have risen in recent years, while submissions among students who are undocumented declined 16% from 2016 to 2020. In fact, more than 300,000 students who started the application in the 2019-2020 admissions cycle but failed to submit it skipped the citizenship question. The hope, Common Application officials said, is their changes may offer some relief.
“We don’t want people selecting themselves out of the process because we’re asking questions they feel are putting themselves and their family in jeopardy,” said Jenny Rickard, the CEO of the organization.
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