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Why do all applications ask if I'm Hispanic?


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3 replies to this topic

#1 stefunny

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 03:13 AM

Hello everyone,
I've been filling out my grad school applications and every single one asks if I'm Hispanic. There's a statement on the application that claims it's required my law to ask the question but I was wondering why. I'm just curious. I am in fact Hispanic and have no problem answering the question and I'm not offended at all, like I said, I'm just curious. Does it effect my application in any way? Thanks in advance!
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#2 American in Beijing

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 05:48 AM

Hello everyone,
I've been filling out my grad school applications and every single one asks if I'm Hispanic. There's a statement on the application that claims it's required my law to ask the question but I was wondering why. I'm just curious. I am in fact Hispanic and have no problem answering the question and I'm not offended at all, like I said, I'm just curious. Does it effect my application in any way? Thanks in advance!


I remember one of my applications saying something about how they use the information for statistics on higher education . . . or maybe that was the GRE. I would imagine that its main purpose would be so the university can keep track of how diverse its graduate programs are. I highly doubt supplying this information would ever hurt you. It may even help you in some schools. If it comes down to a tie between you and another candidate, they might consider taking the candidate whose race is most underrepresented in the department.

You'd be surprised at the things that can influence decision-making in academia. I remember hearing a story about a department that was hiring a new professor. It came down to a choice between 3 candidates. Half of the department liked candidate number 1 and half of the department liked candidate number 2. After a while it became clear that neither side was going to bend, so they decided to go with the candidate that no one liked as a compromise.

Moral of the story: put down as much information as you can. You never know what will help you. Even being the qualified candidate that no one likes can help you! However, if you don't feel comfortable supplying the information, I highly doubt you would be penalized for not checking a box.
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UC Berkeley, History (PhD), Entering Class of 2010
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#3 aginath

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 02:58 PM

Hispanics are a historically under-represented population. Being Hispanic makes you eligible for programs and funding that are not available to Caucasian-NonHispanics.
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#4 alexis

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 12:03 AM

Yeah it definitely shouldn't affect your application in a negative way. It may make no difference or could have a positive effect due to affirmative action. The reason it's a separate question is because being Hispanic is considered an ethnicity, not a race, and EEOC guidelines (the government agency that determines these types of things) considers it separate.
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