College applicants are eager to try innovative ways to seek admission to choice colleges. For example, instead of an essay, they may send an elaborate video production summing up their credentials. Others will join extra curriculars or volunteer. And others’ fates in college admission relies on affirmative action. When your future is at stake, for sure, considering any and all options is key.

What is Affirmative Action?

Many colleges want to raise the rate of college admittance to incorporate more members of minority races.

According to the Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics (2005), “Affirmative action is a term used in the USA to depict a set of laws, policies, guidelines, and government-mandated and government-sanctioned administrative practices, including those of private institutions, intended to end and correct the effects of a specific form of discrimination. It seeks to end the effects of discriminatory practices that violate the inherent equality of persons who, because they share certain attributes such as sex or skin colour, have been denied opportunities on the grounds that they are inferior or different. Affirmative action aims to reduce present discrimination against members of targeted groups such as African, Native or Hispanic Americans, women, and the handicapped, and to increase their numbers within certain occupations and professions and at universities and colleges.”

Affirmative action policy is plagued with controversy.  Should students who have earned high grades with a strong application lose their chances for acceptance because of affirmative action? Or, will adhering to affirmative action policy reduce the colleges’ diversity?

Should I pretend to be a Racial Minority to gain Acceptance?

So this blog is for college students, you are reading this either because you are applying for admission, want to know some probable reasons why you weren’t/were accepted to a college, or perhaps you are considering some innovative choices to get yourself accepted.

Well the reason I’m writing this post today was because I just read this book by Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam, called Almost Black: The True Story of How I Got into Medical School By Pretending to Be Black

Vijay successfully got into St. Louis University (SLU) School of Medicine with a mediocre to low GPA by posing as a black man. His recent novel tells his story of how he tried to get through but often realizes that his little lie keeps coming back to haunt him teaching him a lot of life lessons. He realizes there is a downside to being black and was treated differently as “Jojo” than he was as “Vijay.”

If you are at all considering this method of getting into your program of choice, give his book a read. You can click on the picture below linking to the book on Amazon.

Is Affirmative Action ethical?

Minority students may not have the background needed to compete with racial majorities especially if they’ve grown up in circumstances in which getting a quality education was difficult to attain. Even with high aptitudes for learning, students may struggle to learn as well as racial majorities who were more likely to receive a quality education.

As far as test scores, standardized tests are often expensive and require special training to gain good scores. It is likely that underpriviledged racial minorities cannot finance their tests or prepare properly. This should not undermine their ability even if it tends to be a central area of consideration in college admissions.

When fewer races are represented in the classroom, students are bound to consider the one student of a different ethical background or race to be the spokesperson for their race or ethnic background. With less representation of different races, students are not able to develop ideas about other cultures. Moreover, it causes the minority to feel isolated, and even alienated, from other students being the only one who is different.

More diverse student bodies help students learn more about things that may be new to them. This is useful in many topics of study because the outcome is that students want to make money and if they have a better understanding of the outside world and the different types of people living in it, they will face more success because of their good understanding. In addition, schools should be responsible for offering as much learning as possible.

Whether affirmative action can definitively be seen as ethical or not remains to be seen and debated and I will let you make your own decision. In my opinion, keeping affirmative action in practice in the college or university admission process helps to offer students with a better education because they can learn about a more diverse body of people which has a positive effect on their outcome because they can better understand different demographics of people. Furthermore, underrepresented minorities may not have been given the same chances as the majority. Therefore, they may have faced difficulty to get the best scores needed to gain admission. Affirmative action is important to stay in practice so that more learning takes place, and difficult backgrounds are not grounds for being denied admission.

With that said, not all colleges adhere to affirmative action policy, so if you are following Vijay’s footsteps do your research and also read his book.


What are some of the ways that you have enhanced your application to get into your college choice? Did you get in? I’d love to hear your experience.

Have you already been admitted and planning to move into the dorms? Check out College Mamma’s Dorm Essentials.


LaFoulette, H. (2005). The Oxford Handbook of Practical Ethics.  Oxford University Press.

Author: College Mamma

College Mamma is a professor who blogs for students. She is also a mother of two and a lover of coffee.