Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do Colleges Favor Male Applicants?

A typically overwrought NPR story, about colleges "favoring" male applicants.

Here's the deal: if you went simply by SAT scores and grades, and proportions of applicants, women would be 62%, or even as high as 65%, in many colleges. (Would I mind going to such a college, were I 18? No, I would not mind. But try to focus, here).

So, it may well be true that, at the margin, colleges are taking some men over women with slightly higher scores and grades. But only at the margin. The colleges have long argued, and I agree, that a diverse class, on every dimension, is a worthy goal.

But now that diversity means "admit males," apparently some of the folks down at the Womens Studies Dept have their big supportive Sears catalog-style undies in a slipknot.

Discrimination would mean that the colleges systematically choose men over women. Diversity means that the last few choices, at the margin, are made based on an eye toward the overall composition of the class.

Let there be no mistake: I would make the same argument (and have) for women, African-Americans, region of the US, and economic background. Student learn from each other, and having a diverse class is a perfectly legitimate goal for a private college to pursue. It improves the educational atmosphere for everybody.

As Anonyman put it, in an email this morning, "Colleges discriminate against women because NOT all college students are women." Yep, hard to say that women, who constitute 55% to 65% of these classes, are being discriminated against, isn't it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the huge disparity in men in the women's studies faculty. There likely will not be a mens studies program soon, and image the potential sexual harrasment if you changed women studies to gender studies and encourged object research and education.