Triple A: Affirmative Action and Academics

As a high senior who recently went through the application process, there’s something I’ve wondered about for the past few months.

Ok, let’s say that you are a caucasian student. You are applying to a school with affirmative action. On the application, you state that you are a minority. For argument’s sake, let’s say African-American. You get into the school partly because of your claimed ethnic heritage. Please confine opinions about AA to another thread.

Does an admissions person verify that you are indeed a member of the stated group? How?

Where is the line drawn? Is an Afrikaaner African-American? Is an Egyptian? Anyone with African heritage dating from the last 500 years?

I know that the answer would definitely vary based on what college you’re attending, but any information would be appreciated.

Well…WAG, if you don’t look the part, when you go to talk to your advisor for the first time and they have your file and application in front of you, they may ask questions. I can’t say as I’ve heard of anyone having to supply proof of heritage.

When I was in college, I had a girlfriend who had been born and raised in American Samoa as had her father and mother, but they were not of native extraction. So when it came time to apply for college she came upon the question:

"What do you consider yourself?

a. Afro-American.
b. Hispanic.
c. White/Anglo-American.
d. Asian/Pacific Islander
e. Other."

She put “d.” having always considered herself a Pacific Islander as opposed to any other group. She went to college and at the end of the first semester she was informed that she would be losing a scholarship and that her “performance schedule would be reevaluated” (I have never been able to figure out that phrase). Further, the letter said the college did not approve of her trying to defraud the institution and take advantage of more deserving students.

She was one of the best students in her class at the college and she didn’t purposely try to be considered a “minority.” She thought she was being honest. Fortunately this was a relatively small college and most who were in power knew that the only blot on her character was that she was dating me. So nothing more was done. (She quickly found another scholarship to replace the one she lost.)

Looking back, I’m not sure I responded to the OP, but I began writing and got carried away. Sorry.

The question was poorly worded in your friend’s case. TV. It should be “What do you consider to be your race/ethnicity.”

Don’t have an answer to the OP, but after seven and a half long, long years in post-secondary education, I’ve never heard of anyone whose heritage was ever questioned, though I think I’ve attempts at almost every other attempt at academic sleight-of-hand.

Interesting question.