Panel to Study Gender Bias in College Admissions

college admissions

A panel of civil rights investigators plans to begin reviewing admissions data to determine whether “female students have become so plentiful in higher education that institutions have entered a new era of discrimination against them.” The investigation focuses on D.C. schools, but the Washington Post also mentions data from William and Mary, Vassar, Swarthmore, and—shocker—Wesleyan, which in 2008 admitted 30 percent of its male applicants but only 25 percent of females. No word on the discrepancy in last year’s applicants. From the Washington Post:

Over the past 40 years, women have gone from underrepresented minority to overrepresented majority on U.S. college campuses, where they outnumber men by a proportion approaching 60-40. Barriers that kept women from college have been swept away, and scholarly focus has shifted to the impediments facing men, who are more likely to drop out of school and more apt to go into the military, manual-labor jobs or prison.

It’s no secret that way more women than men apply to liberal arts colleges—after all, liberal arts are totally girly subjects conversely, men are incredibly overrepresented in engineering/technology schools’ admission—but the degree to which it reflects in admissions data at Wes is still pretty striking. Whether it should be questioned as a civil rights issue, or regarded as more or less valid than race-based affirmative action, however, is worth discussing.

Full article: Panel to Study Whether Men are Favored in Area Schools’ Admissions

Edit: Wesleyan’s data is not the subject of the study, but it is quoted in the article and obviously relevant to the discussion.

  • EC

    I thought it was fact that male applicants had a higher likelihood of getting into college than women (except at an engineering school or something that is still male-dominated). I applied as a white female from New England with the understanding that those three things would count against my application.

    I don’t blame admissions offices for doing this, though I don’t think it’s the best way to address the issue (rather, we should study why the discrepancy exists, and maybe grade school should be restructured to better accommodate all learners). Comment number 10 is right on.

  • EC

    I thought it was fact that male applicants had a higher likelihood of getting into college than women (except at an engineering school or something that is still male-dominated). I applied as a white female from New England with the understanding that those three things would count against my application.

    I don’t blame admissions offices for doing this, though I don’t think it’s the best way to address the issue (rather, we should study why the discrepancy exists, and maybe grade school should be restructured to better accommodate all learners). Comment number 10 is right on.

  • A Fascist

    wow 9 that’s stupid. really stupid. that statement is made of stupid.

  • A Fascist

    wow 9 that’s stupid. really stupid. that statement is made of stupid.

  • student

    I think white men will be just fine without affirmative action…. You really do need to better research the historic role of affirmative action before making those claims. It was not created to make sure there was an equal racial representation, but was instead created specifically to help alleviate the systematic oppression of a race for centuries.
    “Fairness” might be what you are talking about #4 and #5, but it isn’t “affirmative action.”

  • student

    I think white men will be just fine without affirmative action…. You really do need to better research the historic role of affirmative action before making those claims. It was not created to make sure there was an equal racial representation, but was instead created specifically to help alleviate the systematic oppression of a race for centuries.
    “Fairness” might be what you are talking about #4 and #5, but it isn’t “affirmative action.”

  • anon

    @8

    more fair to live in a blind world than a world where half the ppl can see

  • anon

    @8

    more fair to live in a blind world than a world where half the ppl can see

  • Check it

    @7

    Clearly, the way to bridge the education gap is to deny access to the oppressors of yore.

    What was that saying again?

    An eye for an eye, and the whole world is blind.

  • Check it

    @7

    Clearly, the way to bridge the education gap is to deny access to the oppressors of yore.

    What was that saying again?

    An eye for an eye, and the whole world is blind.

  • anon

    4 & 5 You don’t get it. Affirmative action is in place not only because certain groups are underrepresented but also because they historically have been denied access! It’s time for wealthy white men to take the back seat in education .

  • anon

    4 & 5 You don’t get it. Affirmative action is in place not only because certain groups are underrepresented but also because they historically have been denied access! It’s time for wealthy white men to take the back seat in education .

  • A

    Another question is the respective matriculation rates…if one gender, on average, applies to more schools than the other, than a University needs to accept more students of the gender to get an equal number matriculating.

  • A

    Another question is the respective matriculation rates…if one gender, on average, applies to more schools than the other, than a University needs to accept more students of the gender to get an equal number matriculating.

  • anon

    I agree with #4 100%. If you’re going to give affirmative action to one group, you can’t deny it to others…

  • anon

    I agree with #4 100%. If you’re going to give affirmative action to one group, you can’t deny it to others…

  • M

    Wait, what? So it’s legitimate to discriminate based on race and socioeconomic status (i.e., affirmative action) and no doubt that’s something that these investigators support. However, when men are becoming increasingly under-represented at our nation’s colleges, it’s not legitimate for admissions officers to give them a little boost?

    Also, if you instead looked at engineering schools you would find the opposite occurring. MIT, for example, has an acceptive rate for women that is twice as high as their acceptive rate for men.

  • M

    Wait, what? So it’s legitimate to discriminate based on race and socioeconomic status (i.e., affirmative action) and no doubt that’s something that these investigators support. However, when men are becoming increasingly under-represented at our nation’s colleges, it’s not legitimate for admissions officers to give them a little boost?

    Also, if you instead looked at engineering schools you would find the opposite occurring. MIT, for example, has an acceptive rate for women that is twice as high as their acceptive rate for men.

  • Alex

    This isn’t a question—wesleyan freely admits that it works every year to maintain approximately a 50-50 average. They try to admit equal numbers of men and women regardless of the gender split of applications. If application percentages are unequal, there’s admissions bias planned into the system…

  • Alex

    This isn’t a question—wesleyan freely admits that it works every year to maintain approximately a 50-50 average. They try to admit equal numbers of men and women regardless of the gender split of applications. If application percentages are unequal, there’s admissions bias planned into the system…

  • Anonymous

    or should I say, don’t blatently copy from Vassar’s blog without making sure they have their shit straight.

    the article quoted Wesleyan’s numbers, but the commission isn’t looking at Wesleyan.

  • Anonymous

    or should I say, don’t blatently copy from Vassar’s blog without making sure they have their shit straight.

    the article quoted Wesleyan’s numbers, but the commission isn’t looking at Wesleyan.

  • Anonymous

    Wesleyan’s data was quoted, but Wesleyan WON’T be analyzed in the commission’s study:

    “Commission spokeswoman Lenore Ostrowsky said all of the colleges are nonprofit, non-seminary, four-year institutions that have more than 1,000 students, are at least moderately selective and are within 100 miles of Washington, an area chosen for its proximity to the commission. More distant schools, including William and Mary, will not be investigated.”

    Read a little more carefully before posting…

  • Anonymous

    Wesleyan’s data was quoted, but Wesleyan WON’T be analyzed in the commission’s study:

    “Commission spokeswoman Lenore Ostrowsky said all of the colleges are nonprofit, non-seminary, four-year institutions that have more than 1,000 students, are at least moderately selective and are within 100 miles of Washington, an area chosen for its proximity to the commission. More distant schools, including William and Mary, will not be investigated.”

    Read a little more carefully before posting…