Successful AND a minority

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October 17, 2012 by mramirez2

 Affirmative Action intends to diversify the schools and the workforce in the country. To be honest, I believe I am coming to school because of this measure. Of course, I did well and school and met all the requirements just like every aspiring college student should, but I believe the fact that I am a Latina in a Title 1 school district and graduated from a school that did not meet AYP, made me a targeted student that acquired aid to continue my studies. I can safely say that I can afford college because aside from the Zell Miller Scholarship and the federal Pell Grant, my scholarship opportunities rose mainly from being of Hispanic heritage.

I have mixed feelings about affirmative action. I am in favor of the measure because I believe K-12 schools are populated and districted based on socio-economic status of the area. Looking at it from a local perspective, in Gwinnett County, my high school district is not even close to wealthy. Not too far from Berkmar high school though is Brookwood school district, which was specifically designed to eliminate all apartment complexes from the district boundaries. So basically, if you live in an apartment, you cannot ride a bus to Brookwood High School. By the way, Brookwood High School’s majority of students (55.9%) are white. Affirmative action tries to get minorities to go to college or get jobs to diversify such fields, and in favor of this, I believe it is necessary to keep race in mind as minority students are usually not economically able to afford test-prep courses to excel in exams such as the SAT or GRE among others. It is usually the schools with lower income families that incorporate the minorities which may include students with great potential, but not enough resources.

 Looking at it from another perspective, I believe with the population of minorities now, it is up to students and employees to take action into becoming competitive candidates. What I mean by this is that, although I graduated from a Title 1 school and am a middle-class Latina citizen, I still succeeded in receiving academic based only scholarships like the Zell Miller which is open to every student, of every race, of every economic status, as long as the student has a 3.7 GPA in GA, gets at least a 26 on the ACT or a combined score of 1200 in reading and math portions of the SAT. Being from Berkmar High school or a Latina did not stop me in any way from trying to succeed academically as my application to GSU showed that my GPA was above the required, which is why I can see the opposition. I believe there is somehow an equal chance to get a high GPA or to prove to be competitive academically regardless of race; it just requires ambition and action.

 When it comes to impacting the number of Latinos in higher education in the future, I believe it gets a bit more complicated because a lot of financial aid goes to minorities, and I believe special consideration at certain colleges as well. If affirmative action is taken away, I believe those underprivileged Latino (or any race) students, who manage to be valedictorian in either large or small classes, past the struggle, will not have their story and desire to get past the difficulty taken into consideration. A lot of students have no choice but to go to schools with low resources to succeed, but with some help, have the potential to become successful professionals after completing higher education or getting a job.

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