Launch Global Education
Odyssey newsletter: court . applications . whales

Volume 2  Issue 14 Special Issue

 by Michael Wagner

 Knowledge Pilot, Launch Global Education

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Over the past several weeks one of the prominent stories in higher education has been the SCOTUS ruling on affirmative action as it relates to college admissions. It has been reported on every possible type of media outlet available, which is why we are dedicating this edition of the Odyssey Newsletter to the ruling on affirmative action. It is a topic that is so important that this is the first time we have dedicated an entire newsletter to one single topic. The articles below provide a wide range of opinions and viewpoints on the ruling. In addition, you will find a free downloadable resource offered from Inside Higher Ed for those who want to learn even more about the impact of the ruling on higher education. I do have to admit, and I won’t give away the secret, but there is another dedicated newsletter fast approaching. Stay tuned for that one.

Affirmative action

Affirmative action refers to policies or programs designed to increase the representation of historically disadvantaged groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities and women, in areas like education and employment. Affirmative action has been a contentious issue in college admissions in the United States.

Over the years, there have been court cases related to affirmative action in college admissions. One notable case is Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which reached the U.S. Supreme Court multiple times. In this case, Abigail Fisher, a white applicant, claimed she was denied admission based on her race, arguing that the university's use of race as a factor in admissions was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court's decisions in the case reaffirmed the constitutionality of considering race as one of many factors in college admissions, but they also set some limitations on the use of affirmative action.

The specific implications of court actions on affirmative action can vary depending on the ruling and the context. Some potential outcomes could include:

1. Affirmative action may continue to be allowed, but its use must be narrowly tailored and must consider the individual applicant's background rather than using quotas or strict racial preferences.

2. Court decisions may place limitations on the extent to which race can be used as a factor in college admissions, making it more challenging for universities to implement affirmative action policies.

3. States or universities could face bans on the use of affirmative action in admissions altogether.

It's important to note that court decisions can evolve, and new cases may emerge that further shape the landscape of affirmative action in college admissions.

Balance and representation

However now that SCOTUS has finally ruled on the issue the ruling holds immense importance in the realm of college admissions as it seeks to promote diversity and inclusivity in educational institutions. By considering race and ethnicity as one of the factors in the admissions process, colleges can create a more balanced and representative student body. Affirmative action aims to address historical inequalities and systemic barriers faced by marginalized groups, offering them greater access to higher education and opportunities for upward social mobility. Through this policy, colleges can foster an environment that celebrates different perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, enriching the learning environment for all students and preparing them to thrive in a diverse and interconnected world.

Diversity in the real world

Additionally, the affirmative action court ruling plays a crucial role in preparing students for an increasingly interconnected and globalized world. Exposure to diverse perspectives, experiences, and cultures enriches the educational experience and equips students with vital skills in cross-cultural communication and collaboration. A diverse student body fosters critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving abilities, as students learn to navigate complex and multifaceted issues by drawing from a wide range of viewpoints. In essence, affirmative action nurtures a learning environment that mirrors the diversity of the real world, empowering students to become more empathetic, open-minded, and socially conscious individuals who are better equipped to address the challenges of a rapidly evolving society.


student at university in front of archway

In the wake of the recent termination of affirmative action policies, the article from Forbes by Corinne Lestch delves into the profound ramifications that this transformation has brought to the talent pipeline. Examining the shifts in recruitment dynamics and educational strategies, it sheds light on the innovative approaches organizations and institutions are adopting to maintain diversity and inclusivity in a post-affirmative action landscape.

How the end of Affirmative Action reroutes the talent pipeline

The decision to ban affirmative action in Olin College admissions, as explored in the WBUR podcast with Max Larkin, has sparked a contentious debate at the intersection of education and equality. Examining the implications of this policy shift unveils a multifaceted dialogue surrounding diversity, meritocracy, and the pursuit of a balanced student body.

After affirmative action ban, one small Massachusetts college plots a course to maintain racial diversity

Steven Colón’s thought-provoking opinion piece in The Hechinger Report sheds light on the longstanding illusion of meritocracy and its implications for our society's structure and values. The article challenges prevailing notions and prompts a reconsideration of the interplay between opportunity, privilege, and genuine equal opportunity.

OPINION: The Supreme Court just revealed what we already know — Meritocracy is a myth

The intricate implications of a recent Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action are dissected, shedding light on the nuanced effects it holds for equality in education and beyond in this Washington Monthly article. Reginald C. Oh delves into the ruling's true impact, unraveling its significance in the ongoing discourse surrounding affirmative action policies.

What the Supreme Court really did to Affirmative Action

Kayln Belsha delves into the complex landscape of college admissions for high-achieving students, examining recent developments and implications surrounding affirmative action policies and scholarship distribution. Against the backdrop of the Supreme Court's involvement, the article in Chalkbeat explores the multifaceted challenges and considerations shaping opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds.

Students worry about fate of some race-based scholarships after end of affirmative action

Itzel Luna looks at the constitutionality and effects of race-conscious college admissions policies, with a particular focus on their impact on first-generation students' access to higher education in this USA Today article. The decision's potential to influence diversity and equal opportunity for this group is analyzed against the backdrop of the Court's stance on these complex matters.

After Supreme Court affirmative action ruling, renewed focus on first-generation students

The potential reversal of affirmative action policies could lead to increased enrollment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), but this may also exacerbate existing challenges faced by these institutions, such as limited resources and infrastructure. This article explores the complex dynamics surrounding this issue and its potential implications for both HBCUs and the broader educational landscape. Ken Makin of reports:

Affirmative action reversal could increase enrollment, deepen challenges at HBCUs           

This article by Elaine Maimon in The Philadelphia Citizen explores innovative strategies employed by colleges to enhance diversity without relying on traditional affirmative action policies. It highlights the importance of holistic admissions processes, community partnerships, and targeted outreach efforts to create inclusive and representative student bodies.

College diversity without Affirmative Action

This Inside Higher Ed editorial webcast provides a detailed overview of a recent ruling's implications for the future of affirmative action in higher education, discussing the key points and potential impacts of the decision. It addresses the complexities surrounding affirmative action policies and their potential effects on college admissions.

The ruling explained: The future of Affirmative Action in higher education

Tip of the Week

student's hands at a laptop

One of the most pivotal moments of the summer for a U.S. rising senior is the date of August 1st, the opening of the Common Application. The opening of the Common App brings with it the stark realization that they are entering their senior year.  

The Common Application is used by most U.S. students to submit applications to their chosen colleges and universities. As the name implies, the Common Application is somewhat of a one-size-fits-all application where a student can fill in the basic information that all schools need, only completing the form once and then sending it off to multiple schools with a click.

However, this action can only begin if they actually create a Common Application account and begin to fill out the application. That is why I require all my students to access the Common Application ( in August and set up an account with a username and password. I ask them to at least set up the account; however, I find that most go on to start entering basic information.

My tip of the week is for anyone who is a rising senior and who has not done so, please, go to the Common Application and at least set up an account. Do it now while have not been sucked into the vortex of your senior year. Trust me, you will be happy you did.

Before you go...

whales from above

As many of you know, I am a lover of nature videos, and the incredible power nature plays in our lives. But this time, I feel Mother Nature has outdone herself. For NBC affiliate WBTS-10 in Boston, Jeff Saperstone reports on an incredible once in a lifetime event. As you will see, it is a whale of a story!

‘I was stunned': 3 whales seen breaching in sync off Cape Cod coast

I will have to say that this is the most detailed Odyssey newsletter since we started some 15 months ago. The topic of the SCOTUS ruling on the role of affirmative action in college admissions warrants this attention as it is one of the most impactful stories of higher education in quite some time. I hope you learn from the variety of articles presented and the various opinions expressed. My goal was to provide enough information for you, as a subscriber, to get a good understanding of the importance and ramifications of such a groundbreaking decision. We are always asking our followers to please share the Odyssey Newsletter with those in their circle of influence; this is an important one to share.

As always, we appreciate your support.

Mr. Mike

Mr. Michael J. Wagner

Michael Wagner, MAED is a founder and the Knowledge Pilot for Launch Education.  Mr. Mike has assisted hundreds of students around the world on their college pathways.