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Racial "Background" on Common App

nina1228nina1228 Registered User Posts: 936 Member
edited November 2011 in Hispanic Students
Anyway, I'll repost my response from the earlier thread, I was hoping for a response to what I said so that others may use this as a reference for the future. To my knowledge, the issue on racial background, as opposed to race/ethnicity themselves, has not been addressed heavily on this forum (as entomom pointed out).

From: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/hispanic-students/1218408-what-should-i-put-my-race-common-app.html
I am Hispanic, so I obviously checked "yes" for that question and marked my designated ethnicity (PR).

But for the background, I was torn about what to do. The most accurate one was "White", but I didn't know where to go from there. I ended up checking "European" as best describing my background because I am fairly certain that somewhere far back my ancestors came to PR from Spain (I think my last name originated in Spain, although I have no documentation/proof that any of my ancestors actually came from Europe). This was really the only way I could think to answer the question. "South America" doesn't really apply to PR. Hopefully the way I answered is fine, and I am not worried how it will impact my chances any way because I want to know that I got in (hopefully I do get in) based on merit not ethnicity.

And just to clarify: I am not part Caucasian (in the sense that all of my grandparents grew up in PR not Europe and both my parents are 100% Hispanic), which was another source of confusion for me when I checked European.


Please respond with any advice/feedback for future applicants who have the same questions.
Post edited by nina1228 on

Replies to: Racial "Background" on Common App

  • angeBunnyangeBunny Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    I'm having this same difficulty, I just left my background blank.
    Based on marking "white", mestizo Latin American people can arguably mark "Native people of the Americas" too. It'd be great to get some insight on this.
  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    Based on marking "white", mestizo Latin American people can arguably mark "Native people of the Americas" too. It'd be great to get some insight on this.

    This has been discussed several times on this forum. Use the Search function for "native american", "original peoples", etc.

    I agree that it would be valid to for students with mestizo backgrounds to mark both white and AI/AN since the CA definition of the latter states, "Including all original peoples of the Americas". What is not so clear is the significance/impact of such a designation in college admissions, as the AI/AN category is targeted principally at members of US tribes, who are significantly underrepresented in US colleges.
This discussion has been closed.