BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled institutions can’t use race as a factor in the admissions process, at least two colleges and universities in Rhode Island have updated their applications.
Roger Williams University added an optional essay question that allows prospective students to share how their life experiences would impact their education.
“It allows students to speak to their lived experiences as it relates to the perhaps their identity and adversity they’ve overcome or ways they can contribute to the community we are building here,” said Amy Tiberio, vice president of enrollment management at Roger Williams University.
The essay prompt is optional for prospective Roger Williams University students. It went into effect on Aug. 1 and will be included in applications for the class of 2028.
The new question reads: “In what ways do you believe your distinctive experiences and background would positively impact and enrich our university community?”
The Supreme Court carved this out in their ruling, giving applicants the chance to highlight in a personal essay how race and culture may have affected their lives.
“It really give students the opportunity to share as little or as much as they want to in whatever format they feel comfortable,” Tiberio said.
This type of supplemental essay isn’t a new concept, according to college advisor Cristiana Quinn. However, more colleges and universities are adopting it after the ban on affirmative action.
“What colleges are putting out there is an opportunity for students to discuss any obstacle that they may have overcome,” Quinn said.
Providence College confirmed it has also updated its essay questions, while both Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island said no changes have been made to their applications.
A spokesperson for Brown University said “Brown is focused on conducting a thorough legal review of the 237-page opinion and determining what strategies for enrolling a talented, diverse student body it can follow while complying with the law — and providing resources and guidance to academic and administrative units for understanding the implications of the court decision for Brown’s programs and activities.”