Recruiting more Black students
“Between 13 and 14 percent of the population of the United States is Black; the proportion of Black students on campus should be equal to or greater than that. Twelve percent is a first step between where we’ve been and where we want to be,” says Leslie Davidson, vice president for enrollment.
To set the goal, Davidson took into consideration several factors, including Black Students United’s recommended target of 10 percent, the demographics of recent incoming classes, and 2020 Census data.
Davidson says the team has developed partnerships with local and regional community-based organizations, like College Bound Opportunities, HighSight, and College Bound St. Louis to recruit more Black students. The office has also prioritized Black students for personal outreach to make sure students are hearing about Beloit.
In addition, enrollment restructured the application review process to mitigate against factors that that can disadvantage Black students in the application process, from the influence of implicit bias on academic expectations, application of discipline in school settings, and application review to the legacy of redlining, housing discrimination, and segregation and inequities in school funding. When the initial recommendation is that a Black student be denied admission, the student’s file receives additional review by several readers.
“Unless we consider students in context, whether a student is admissible can easily become synonymous with privilege and historic advantages. Students’ perseverance and determination, and their inclination to take advantage of whatever resources and opportunities are available to them, are important indicators of their ability to be successful in college,” says Davidson.
Enrollment leadership is carefully monitoring Black students’ progress through the pipeline via comparison of conversion rates at each stage to those of prior years and to overall rates for this cycle. Davidson says the team will continue to refine the recruitment and selection to prioritize access, equity, and anti-racism.