UVA adds identity question to admissions essay after SCOTUS ruling

The move comes after the Supreme Court deemed the use of affirmative action in college admissions unconstitutional.

The new question asks students to discuss their 'background, perspective, or experience' in 300 words.

The University of Virginia (UVA) announced a new essay question for the 2023 to 2024 admissions cycle that circumvents the Supreme Court’s ruling that universities can no longer consider race in college admissions.

Applicants are now required, in 300 words, to answer: “What about your background, perspective, or experience will serve as a source of strength for you and those around you at UVA?”

While not explicitly mentioned, the question alludes to applicants’ race because it appeals to sources of oppression and marginalization given the “background, perspective, or experience” should be seen as a “source of strength.”

[RELATED: WATCH: Colleges will do whatever it takes to protect the ‘holy grail’ of diversity after SCOTUS ruling, says Rep. Dr. Virginia Foxx]

Craig Meister, a college admissions coach and educational consultant, described UVA’s question as “leading,” eliciting responses that highlight applicants’ diversity. Meister also said a potential reason for this new question is that a “particular faction” of UVA’s admissions committee wanted to align the university with President Joe Biden’s suggestion to “account the adversity a student has overcome” in the process.

UVA, a public research university, received $216 million from the Commonwealth of Virginia in 2022. The Virginia General Assembly can adjust funding at any given year, as it did in 2019.

[RELATED: Rather than ask directly about race, college now asks how applicants will be personally ‘impacted’ by affirmative action ruling]

Unlike Biden, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin welcomed the Supreme Court’s ruling, celebrating how an individual will have opportunities “based on the trajectory of their potential, their aspirations, and the quality of their capabilities as opposed to simply on their race.” 

Campus Reform asked Gov. Youngkin if he would take action against UVA should they continue to use racial identity in admissions, but he has not responded.

Campus Reform contacted the University of Virginia for a comment, but did not receive a response. This article will update accordingly.