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Can colleges find out about your ethnicity if you don't report it?

RedAndBlue123RedAndBlue123 Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
edited February 2012 in Graduate School
NOTE: This is NOT an affirmative action discussion nor is it anything politically/socially motivated.

Hi,

I recently applied to about 10 grad programs in engineering. I was wondering if colleges can find out your race/ethnicity if you choose not to report it?

I'm a white male and chose not to report it, yet I keep getting emails from my prospective grad schools letting me know about their programs for diversity or their "commitment to diversity." Is this just a standard email? I feel that they looked up my ethnicity and somehow have the wrong idea. I have received 3 emails from 3 different schools letting me know about certain programs that specialize in "assisting students of color."

As a white male, I do not understand why I'm getting these emails and worrying that there might have been a mistake. I'm wondering if the schools looked up my records elsewhere and there was a mistake. Maybe there is a mistake and I'm registered as some non-white ethnicity in my standardized test scores or voting record. However, I am under the impression that all this information (gender, race, etc) would be confidential unless it is self-reported on the application.

So this brings me back to my original question, can colleges can find out your race/ethnicity if you choose not to report it?
Post edited by RedAndBlue123 on

Replies to: Can colleges find out about your ethnicity if you don't report it?

  • angryelfangryelf - Posts: 506 Member
    Why would you not report being a white male? This has to be one of the most ridiculous questions asked here.
  • b@r!um[email protected]!um Registered User Posts: 10,335 Senior Member
    I suspect that it's standard procedure at some universities to include applicants who did not report their ethnicity on the diversity mailing list. If you don't want to indicate your ethnicity, you shouldn't be surprised to get emails targeted at ethnicities other than your own.
  • XaviFMXaviFM Registered User Posts: 952 Member
    Why should anyone have to report their ethnicity?
  • CFB53BCFB53B Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    Schools record and report the demographics of their incoming class. If a school has an apparent bias (let's say that school brought in only men for 3 years in a row), then there might be an investigation as to why and what can be done to encourage more qualified female applicants.
    Maybe there is a mistake and I'm registered as some non-white ethnicity in my standardized test scores or voting record.

    Did you ever lie to them about your ethnicity? If not, then don't worry.
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,472 Super Moderator
    The other thing is that diversity doesn't just benefit students of color; it also benefits white students, too. So maybe they send out generic diversity things to everyone.

    They also may have found that kids of color are less likely to indicate their race than white kids, so maybe they send out the students of color stuff to everyone who indicates that they are a student of color AND to everyone who doesn't specify their race.
This discussion has been closed.