You’re filling out a college fit questionnaire and come to the question: Is diversity on campus important to you? “Hmm,” you think as you check the box YES, “I’m really not sure.” Colleges undergo conscientious recruiting efforts to attract diverse students, reporting statistics on diversity as they do graduation rates and freshman class profiles. But for many high school students who’ve grown up in culturally homogeneous neighborhoods, diversity is an intangible.
So why check that YES box? Why is diversity important anyway?
1. Developing as a culturally competent individual will improve your social skills and future ability to collaborate. Interaction with students from different backgrounds promotes intellectual sophistication and worldliness.
2. Diversity fosters innovation. Similar to how academic stimulation can prepare students to be creative thinkers and problem solvers, exposure to diverse perspectives allows you to view problems from multiple viewpoints when making decisions.
3. Diversity prepares students for the increasingly global workforce. The diverse population of future co-workers, bosses, clients or suppliers may not mimic the culturally similar environments in which some students were raised. College is the time to become familiar and comfortable interacting with diverse groups of people.
4. Exposure to diversity encourages greater sensitivity and appreciation of people with different backgrounds or opinions, spawning both self-awareness and the ability to view the world and others from a wider lens.