DEA Inclusion – An update on Fisher v. University of Texas

It’s hard to believe that another summer has flown by so quickly!  How can it possibly be fall again?     For those of us on the college side it means packing our suitcases, hitting the road, talking about our institutions non-stop day in and day out and packing in those airline miles and hotel points; for our colleagues on the high school side it means letters of recommendation galore and many, many conversations about future plans, goals and managing expectations of both students and their families. While we were away for the summer the 5th Circuit Court issued another ruling on Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin.  I wrote an opinion piece on this case before and have been closely following the story as I feel it is very important to understand what is happening with this case when looking at the big picture of access to higher education. Last summer the Supreme Court ruled 7 to 1 to vacate the 5th Circuit Court’s opinion and remanded the case back for review under the … [Read more...]

The Crisis of Choosing: Which Box Do I Check?

We here at USC recently became members of the Common App family. During the summer, our staff takes the time to fill our test applications; to help our processing center make sure the system is working, but also so that we as admission counselors can see what students are actually going through as they apply to be a part of our institution. I strangely love filling out forms and enjoyed the task until I reached the ethnic identity questions. Suddenly, I had flashbacks of being young and confused, thinking to myself “which box am I supposed to check?” Things have changed since the days when I had to fill out these forms. Now, students have the option to check all that apply, or not disclose this information if they so choose. This obviously reflects the quickly changing demographics in which more and more, people are embracing their multicultural identities and are finally able to recognize their diversity. But I always found one thing to be difficult about choosing how to identify: … [Read more...]

I Am a Woman and That Means…

Last week a colleague of mine posted a link to a BuzzFeed article titled “29 Things Women Avoid Doing Because We Fear for Our Safety.” I went down the list and checked off all 29 items. I didn’t even realize I did half of these things?! Then I got upset. As a woman, on what else am I missing. I have been especially aware of my identity as a woman in the last month or so. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just discover this fact yesterday, but I can say I’ve noticed various aspects of my identity take the lead at different points in my life. In this last month I read two amazing books (that I encourage EVERYONE to read ASAP!), Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and The Defining Decade by Meg Jay. Both reminded me of the beautiful, the challenging, and simply, the real, parts of what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. In addition to the Buzzfeed list and my summer reading, I came across Verizon’s Inspire her Mind Commercial. Then, the next day, I encountered yet another video, Always’ … [Read more...]

I’m Going to College! Now What?

It’s summer! For recently graduated high school seniors it means one thing: college.  The summer between high school graduation and starting college marks an important time -- a time of transition. Students are excited and gearing up for what is sure to be the best four years of their lives, but hopefully, what is also going to be a time of growth and learning. Most of the time, students start college with some knowledge of what to expect and what they want to gain from this experience. Working on a college campus and constantly being surrounded by students I find myself thinking back to my own transition into college. The transition process from high school to college was a little bit different for me as a first-generation college student; to be honest I’m not sure I really understood how important and significant it all was, and it wasn’t just because I was your typical 17-year-old. Being a first-generation student means that your resources and knowledge are sometimes limited. I … [Read more...]

A Public Conversation about Undocumented Students

For many of us on either side of the desk, working with undocumented students presents quite the challenge. We seem to have more questions than answers. What do we do if a student tells us they are undocumented? Do we have the resources to assist them? Do we know the resources? How do we advise them in regards to funding their college education? AB540? Dream Act? Many would agree that undocumented students have been invisible in higher education until recent years, a population we have always known to be in our classrooms, but also one institutions have not openly addressed and supported. Just recently colleges and universities are making great strides in addressing the specific needs of undocumented students through programs and services and are also more willing to publically acknowledge and share their plans. The University of California, San Diego is currently in the process of hiring a new Undocumented Student Support Center Coordinator who, according to the job posting, will … [Read more...]