Certain sorts are complaining that underrepresented minority (URM) – yes, that’s now a term in college circles – students are facing invisible barriers in public colleges which prevent them from getting or completing the degrees that they want. And those invisible barriers are grades. And this, of course, is racist and needs to be addressed.
Let’s start with the fact that minorities are most likely not underrepresented, if enrollment figures have maintained the rates that they had for a long time. A five-year average showed that 4.98% of Whites, 6.22% of Blacks, and 4.1% of Latinos enrolled in college each year. So, that pretty much throws the Underrepresented Minority (URM) into the trash heap where all such lies belong.
But that “invisible barrier” to minority students is hardly invisible at all. It’s in plain sight, like all or most actual scholastic requirements in colleges, especially large public universities. They do gate off popular majors, limiting them out of necessity to those students with the best GPAs in prerequisite courses for those respective majors. These grade requirements conserve the various departments’ limited resources by acting as a winnowing tool, which makes sure that the strongest students enter those majors and lower-performing students are directed to other majors that the universities’ faculties believe they can better handle.
“I got in here,” she [Gonzales] told me this summer, which she spent finishing her degree in a different major. “I did the application. I did the essays. I was accepted. But then there was another admissions process I didn’t even know about. It was like running a race with one leg.”
It’s quite simple really. When competing for resources, those who can show that they will make the best use of those resources will gain them and those that don’t show that won’t get them. If minorities can’t successfully compete – a falsehood, judging by UC Berkely’s graduates demographic figures – it’s neither the universities faults nor their “problem” to solve.
Most certainly, the growing trend of using “holistic” means of judging a major candidates’ worthiness to claim one of the seats in a college/major, is not a means that provides true benefit. It just ends up lowering the bar, but only for certain classes of applicant.