Kaplan Survey: Nearly 30 Percent of Colleges Say the Black Lives Matter Movement Changed their Admissions Process

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC)
Press Contact: Russell Schaffer, russell.schaffer@kaplan.com, 917.822.8190

Twitter: @KapEdNews, @KaplanSATACT

New York, NY (February 9, 2021) ⁠— America’s most prominent social justice movement is having an impact on the college admissions process. According to the results of Kaplan’s 2020 college admissions officers survey, 28 percent of top colleges and universities across the country say that the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been building for years and reached a crescendo in summer 2020, has influenced changes to their admissions process*. The survey was conducted on the heels of a report from the The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which found that the biggest college enrollment demographic decline this past summer was among Black undergraduate students, 8.3 percent. 

Among those changes that have already been implemented or are in the works, according to the more than 300 college admissions officers surveyed are:

  • “The BLM movement has encouraged us to continue to examine our policies and reaffirm our commitment to engaging in the work of anti-racism and the role of admissions/higher education institutions in supporting social justice and demanding an end to racism. Admissions staff will actively participate in opportunities to educate and improve themselves with regard to unconscious bias and cultural competency.”
  • “We have made clear in our review of any legal infractions that social justice/BLM arrests will not be counted against students.”
  • “The BLM movement has certainly invigorated our diversity and outreach initiatives team in the office of undergraduate admissions. It has sparked conversations of how counselors can continue to evaluate our implicit biases throughout the recruitment cycle, including which high schools we visit and which applications we choose to accept.”
  • “We are having more meaningful conversations with Black students about what they expect from their college experience and how campuses are supporting BLM and other movements that promote equity for marginalized populations.”
  • “As a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, we have now started taking underrepresented groups into consideration when creating our overall recruitment strategies for the year and are beginning to reach out to students at the pre-college level so they begin engaging with the STEM professions earlier.”

Other admissions officers said they added supplemental essay prompts to their applications to allow prospective students to write about racial and social justice issues, while others said they hired outside consultants to identify areas to change in order to have a more equitable recruitment process.

But even as many admissions officers say BLM, which was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, is impacting their admissions process, diversity efforts continue to lag among most colleges, with only 34 percent saying they have a specific program to recruit Black students. One school shared, however, that it has established a goal of doubling the enrollment of Black students by 2025.

For more information about the Kaplan survey, contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 917.822.8190. 

*309 admissions officers from the nation’s top national, regional and liberal arts colleges and universities – as compiled from U.S. News & World Report – were polled by e-mail between September 16 and September 29, 2020. Percentages are rolled up to the nearest whole number.

About Kaplan

Kaplan is a global educational services company that provides individuals, universities, and businesses with a diverse array of services, including higher and professional education, test preparation, language training, corporate and leadership training, and student recruitment, online enablement and other university support services. With operations in nearly 30 countries, Kaplan serves nearly 1.1 million students each year and has partnerships with 2,000-plus universities, colleges, and schools/school districts, and more than 4,000 businesses globally. Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC). For more information, please visit www.kaptest.com.   

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