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Access to Elite Colleges

The MIMS Institute Fellows Inc. (MIMS) applauds The Qonnection’s unshaken resolve in support of Black students nationwide. The post-Affirmative Action landscape offers the Black community and its allies unlimited opportunities to make a difference in the lives of Black youth capable of preparing for, applying to, attending and thriving at America’s Best Colleges. What do we do when lemons come our way? We make lemonade!

Take a snapshot of Black enrollment data at any number of most-selective colleges as of June 28, 2023. The concern is that those numbers will decrease because of a national institution’s Affirmative Action decision on that day. Excuse me for pointing to a viable different outcome.

Melvin is a rising junior at Vanderbilt University. He graduated from the public high school in my ZIP code—78220, on San Antonio’s Eastside. I am offering him an internship to groom a high school student from the ZIP code to apply to Vanderbilt in the coming years. He will receive some guidance from me. For example, I will encourage Melvin to let his admissions office know about the Black student he is grooming. He might share information about the student with professors and others within his circle of influence at Vanderbilt. In the spirit of The Qonnection, Melvin might also connect the student to several individuals who further fuel his enthusiasm for seeking admissions to Vandy.

B Striker is a rising junior at Middlebury College in Vermont. He spent a gap year after high school in DC as an AmeriCorps volunteer with City Year San Antonio. B Striker served students at Davis Middle School, located in my ZIP code. He, too, will receive an internship to groom a Black student from Davis Middle School who is currently in high school to follow him at Middlebury. Both Melvin and B Striker are resourceful. I cannot predict the exact outcome of their efforts. Nevertheless, what I do know is that—with community support—they can make a profound difference.

Nalaniya is also from my ZIP code. She is the Highlands High School Class of 2023 valedictorian and one of 750 national and international 2023 Gates Scholars. She will begin her freshman year this fall at UCLA. While at Highlands, Nalaniya co-founded the first Black Student Union (BSU) in San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD). A few of us adults intend to support the continued growth of this organization and perhaps increase the number of BSUs in SAISD and citywide. It may be appropriate for some of them to consider community service projects that includes grooming members to prepare for America’s Best Colleges.

When one takes a snapshot of Black student enrollment at the most-selective colleges in 2027, for example, what might be obvious is that the Black community and its allies took ownership of African American enrollment rates at elite institutions.

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