Written by: Nia Satterfield Brown
Applying to college as a young Black woman during a pandemic has been an experience, to say the least. Before going into this process, I thought I would have ample time to visit the colleges I was interested in and importantly, speak to current—specifically Black—students about their experience at that college in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion, and other thoughts they could give insight on. However, since I was not able to do this, I had to rely on YouTube videos and countless virtual events in order to get a glimpse into college life. While all of my interactions were through a computer screen, I was glad that the colleges were super engaging and brought in current students to answer questions and share their experiences. I was grateful that schools hosted events that were geared to specific areas such as the Black experience or just an information session for a particular college within the main college. Ironically, I don’t think they would have made these spaces available if the pandemic had not occurred.
Looking back on my personal essay and supplements, I realize that almost every essay mentioned something about my experiences as a young Black woman. I was initially hesitant to center my essays around such a delicate topic, but I was unsure of what other significant information my paper would entail. My race is such an integral part of my life, so I knew I had to be vulnerable and let colleges see me for who I really am. It was a challenge at first because as a minority, there are so many factors that can be held against you when applying to college or even applying for a job. I did not want my identity to come off too strongly nor excessively highlight my commitment to social and racial justice. Essay by essay, I got more comfortable revealing my true self, and I realized that if a college did not accept that being African-American was an intrinsic component of my identity then they were not the right place for me.
Thank you readers, I appreciate you so much. And a HUGE thank you to all who participated in this series, it has been an honor sharing your experiences as Black individuals applying to college. I wish you all the best of luck on this journey. 🎓