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Student Protests and College Admissions

Credit: Gerald Herbert and Fibonacci Blue

Our hearts go out to all of the students, staff, faculty and families impacted by the recent events at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. This horrific shooting has galvanized high school students across the country. Be it the 'lie in' at the White House, the rallies and trips to State Legislatures, walkouts , or the upcoming March for Our Lives, students are leading the charge - often during school hours. This show of civic engagement has not been met with positive reaction from most school administrators; however, as many districts across the country have promised disciplinary action for participating students. Other administrators, while sympathetic and supportive of students' rights to speak out, have lamented both time away from the classroom and the inability to ensure their safety while not on campus.

Add to this the worry that exercising your right to free expression and assembly might cost you your spot at College. Well, there is good news on that front. In a blog post on Friday, Hannah Mendlowitz, a senior assistant director of admissions and recruitment at Yale University wrote that, "Yale will NOT be rescinding anyone’s admission decision for participating in peaceful walkouts for this or other causes, regardless of any high school’s disciplinary policy. She continued, “I, for one, will be cheering these students on from New Haven." Indeed, over 50 colleges and universities across the country have echoed that sentiment and affirmed a student's right to peacefully protest by pledging that participation in non-violent protest that result in disciplinary action will neither adversely impact admissions decisions, nor will they cause an acceptance to be rescinded.

For those of you who are not graduating this year, take the time to reflect on your experience. How this made you feel, what actions you took, how these events changed your outlook on your community and the world. You just might find that over the next few years, the experiences you've during this time might show up in your college admissions essays. Until then be passionate about the things you care about!

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