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A Big Problem With College Admissions Could Be About to Get Worse -By Aya M. Waller-Bey


Before long, I realized that this job had constraints. I got the clear message that I should reward high-achieving students from historically marginalized backgrounds who also described struggle and adversity in their admissions essays. That these students should have to prove their worthiness by putting their trauma on display seemed obviously unfair. A few years later, I pursued a Ph.D. in sociology to study the admissions process. My research showed me that the valorization of trauma narratives is widespread in selective colleges’ admissions departments—and that students from marginalized communities are well aware that their applications have a higher chance of success when they describe the difficulties they’ve faced.

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