A rising college student’s perspective on affirmative action.

Photo courtesy of Nuvia Alvarez

Two landmark cases challenging affirmative action in higher education are set to be heard by the supreme court this fall. The cases challenge race-conscious admissions programs at both Harvard University and the University of North Carolina.

High school senior Nuvia Alvarez responds with her thoughts and reflections.

My name is Nuvia Alvarez and I’m a senior at Cristo Rey De La Salle High School which is in the heart of the Fruitvale in Oakland. I am a Mexican-American and African-American first-generation student. I started my college application process this past October. Admittedly, prior to this, I was only aware of affirmative action in context of employment but had no idea that it existed in the higher education. I learned just how much this could potentially affect my college admissions. My hope is to attend a  private-catholic university to continue my spiritual journey.  If I were to encounter a non person of color that said, “you only got into Saint Mary’s because of affirmative action” I would be enraged. I would probably respond “I had to work twice as hard to get to where I am today.” That looks like not only working harder to get excellent grades but disprove society’s opinions about women of color pursuing higher education.

I refuse to be another number to meet a quota.

Where I continue my education should be because of the hard work I put into my school work and not because of my race and gender. I took the time to look into the  the demographics of each school that I was applying to. Personally, It’s important to me to share a classroom with students that similar  interests me and educators that I can see myself in. I simply believe that acceptances should be based on hard work, achievement, and what you have to offer to the community. Affirmative action slaps a big sticker on our backs that says, “I probably was good enough for the job, but instead I was chosen to meet the percentile of POC that was needed.”

Nuvia Alvarez was recently accepted to over 10 colleges and universities including California Lutheran University, Scripps College ,Occidental College, Connecticut College, Chapman University Saint Mary’s College of California (her top choice), Holy Names University, San José State, Cal Poly Pomona and more.

What do you think?

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