Diversity: Utilizing Our Differences for Success

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In our society, although many organizations continue to grapple with issues of diversity, in a multitude of businesses, including retail, fashion, media, entertainment and sports, diversity is reflected at many levels.  Still, at this time it is clear that there is still more to be done as people realize that there continues to be a lack of communication and understanding on certain levels within our society.

Everyone who participates in a common endeavor as part of a collective is simply a citizen of that collective.  This of course applies to businesses.  All within the collective have different experiences which contribute positively and are generally interesting and useful to others within the collective.  Studies have shown that when each individual is allowed to provide their unique perspectives to the collective, when embraced, results in better than expected outcomes to solutions to problems being addressed.  All would agree that beautifully harmonic music is preferable to a monotone.

Of course, there continue to exist issues of access, racism, prejudice, bigotry, egalitarian treatment, etc.  “Racism in the United States continues to be so pervasive and systematic that, in August 2014, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) published a report that examined racial equality and justice in the US. CERD noted that black Americans disproportionately face economic and social disparity and urged the US to halt not only the excessive use of force by police, but also broader racism. “This is not an isolated event and illustrates a bigger problem in the United States, such as racial bias among law enforcement officials, the lack of proper implementation of rules and regulations governing the use of force, and the inadequacy of training of law enforcement officials,” said Noureddine Amir, CERD committee vice chairman. “Racial and ethnic discrimination remains a serious and persistent problem in all areas of life from de facto school segregation to access to health care and housing.”  This should not be for companies and businesses in the United States of America in this day and age.  As a successful admissions expert, with over 20 years of experience and an enviable acceptance track record, my exposure to and experiences with systemic racism, bigotry and prejudice are not new.  They, understandably, have been and continue to be the norm (par for the course) because who I am.  These experiences and my continually being viewed as different and inferior (and, at times, unqualified) have paradoxically empowered me, as an admissions advisor, to help my clients stand out and gain admissions to their top-choice private schools, colleges and universities and BS/MD programs!

Parents who overcome various issues as well who understand different perspectives allow us to provide their children with unmatched competitive admissions advantages!

Racial, ethnic, generational and cultural differences have always been America’s greatest assets!  They have collectively been the glue that have made America great! Diversity was a necessary precondition to our democracy and has provided the impetus for engagement in the full kaleidoscope of “American culture”.  Furthermore, it has produced an enviable position that other nations strive for in our world.

  1. Diversity in business and commerce:  In today’s globalizing, fast-changing, highly-competitive and networked world, the capacity to turn diversity to one’s advantage is critical and necessary.  It is not just a nice thing to do for racial and ethnic minorities; it is a MUST.  As the world evolves dramatically, cultural, ethnic and racial immersion has become a widespread organizational imperative – from Google to IBM.
  2. Research shows that diversity usually trumps familiarity, insularity and ability.  Diverse teams are much better at problem-seeking and problem-solving. They bring different cognitive, intellectual and experiential tool kits and ways of approaching a problem to the table.  Diverse teams see customers, products, and market opportunities in creative, new and unforeseen ways.  Even among the most well-meaning, a homogeneous team comes with a limited outlook., whereas a diverse team often yields nuanced deliberated decisions made from multiple perspectives and experiences that result in deeper and wider considerations and probable outcomes and results.
  3. A report entitled, “Innovation, Diversity, and Market Growth” found that when teams have one or more members who represent the gender, ethnicity, culture, generation, or sexual orientation of the team’s target end user, the team is as much as 158 percent more likely to clearly understand that target subject. This difference significantly increases the team’s likelihood of creating successful programs or products for their target subject.
  4. The American Sociological Association has demonstrated that in organizations with diverse teams there is a 9% rise in sales revenue and significant increase in business performance.  In contrast, monolithic and homogeneous thought within a group makes a cohesive team, but one that will happily and repeatedly agree on the same mistake as the rest of world evolves.
  5. Wall Street financial firms have recognized that in “superforecasting” (forecasting and predicting future market shifts) the wisdom and judgement of diverse teams can broaden knowledge base and focuses more on constantly updating probabilities rather than a non-diverse team that is involved in group think.
  6. Former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, the American Economic Association’s president, and other prominent economists have said a lack of diversity limits how the economics field analyzes issues and crafts policies that affect broad swaths of people.
  7.  Diversity decreases mistakes: Individuals with different backgrounds and styles approach problems differently.  Research published by a MIT professor exploring past literature, found that diverse teams tend to be less susceptible to groupthink, which can drastically reduce the likelihood of making avoidable mistakes.
  8. A 2014 study of Columbia University showed that ethnically diverse trader teams priced assets more accurately, avoided conformity, and thwarted bubbles.
  9. Diversity and Innovation: The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies. Diverse perspectives with in office settings consistently allow for more powerful breakthroughs in innovation.  Research shows that that daily interactions with co-workers from different racial and economic backgrounds help a team develop the ability to view and understand complex problems and events through multiple lenses.  Research also that an integrated workforce helps companies design and sell products more effectively to a wide range of customers on global scale.
  10. A study by Rocio Lorenzo and Martin Reeves: “How and Where Diversity Drives Financial Performance”, in the Harvard Business Review of 1700 companies in eight countries, found that diversity among managers was associated with greater organizational innovation and profitability. 
  11. A McKinsey & Company research report: “Why Diversity Matters”, revealed that of 366 public companies analyzed, those in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above national industry medians.  In the United States, there is a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance: for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise 0.8 percent.
  12. A McKinsey & Company research report analyzes how inequality shapes the Hollywood industry and how much it ultimately costs its bottom line. The consulting firm deduced that the $148 billion film and TV industry loses $10 billion, or 7%, every year by undervaluing Black films, filmmakers and executives.

Racial and ethnic differences is not just a good idea and good for society, it’s good for business.  We should continue to embrace and acknowledge our differences for its importance in contributing to business, cultural and academic success that has made the United States of America the shining example that many other countries have attempted to emulate.

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Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty? – Dr. Paul Lowe

We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college: College Transfer Admissions Advisors.

The College Admissions Landscape Has Changed Again: Adversity Score

The College Board, the New York based nonprofit that oversees the SAT, plans to assign an adversity score to every student who takes the SAT to try to capture their social and economic backgrounds.  This fall, 100 colleges and universities will join the 50 colleges (which include Harvard, Yale, Cornell and University of Michigan) already utilizing this new metric designed to place students’ SAT scores in the context of their socioeconomic advantages or disadvantages.

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This adversity score is calculated using 15 environmental factors that influence a student’s home and school life – including the neighborhood’s crime rate and poverty levels, the community’s average educational attainment, housing values, and vacancies. While students won’t see, know or be told their scores, colleges will see the numbers when reviewing their applications.

What does this mean for rising seniors?  The college admissions landscape has changed again.  Colleges will have an objective tool that will not just consider a student’s race, but their socio-economic class in making admissions decisions.  To be clear, colleges and universities have considered socioeconomic factors previously; but the pilot study of this method using the adversity score has accelerated the inclusion of lower income and minority students.  Admissions will be even more competitive!

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Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty? – Dr. Paul Lowe

We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!– Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions Advisors.

Who Are the Beneficiaries of Affirmative Action?

Students have been affirmatively admitted to Ivy League and elite colleges and universities based on different affirmative criteria for decades (affirmative criteria based on gender, athletics, state of origin, development, elite private high school attendance etc.).  This complex policy involving the previously mentioned affirmative criteria is not likely to change soon.

Ironically, the Executive Branch of the United States government has withdrawn its advocacy of utilizing race as one of the affirmative criteria in college admissions.  In a joint letter, the US Education and Justice Departments announced on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 that they will rescind seven guidance documents that encouraged colleges and other schools to consider race as a factor when making admission decisions.

There are many statistics regarding the racial breakdown of admitted freshman to Ivy League and top colleges and universities.  In general, the following documented trends have emerged.

  • “…(A)t top tier universities, black undergraduate populations average 6 percent, a statistic that has remained largely flat for 20 years…(At Harvard, for example, 6.5 percent of undergraduates were black in 2013, down from 7.4 percent in 1994).” -The Atlantic, 11/23/15
  • According to a New York Times analysis (based on data from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, “(e)ven after decades of affirmative action, Black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago…”- New York Times, 8/20/17.
  • A 2016 study from the Center for American Progress finds that despite the use of race-conscious affirmative criteria Black students have low levels of enrollment at top-tier public universities.
  • “There is no question that top-tier schools are becoming more diverse. White students made up 58 percent of the student body in 2013, down from 72 percent in 1994.” -The Atlantic, 11/23/15
  • A more recent study by the New York Times indicates the percentage of white students admitted to Ivy League schools have been dropping, ranging from 40 percent (Columbia) to 56 percent (Dartmouth).

So what are the numbers really saying here, as the percentage of black and latino students have been flat (and in some cases dropping) and the percentage of white students have been dropping, despite the use of the affirmative criterion of race?

If Ivy League and elite colleges have been using race-conscious criteria to affirmatively accept students over the past 35 years, who has really benefited from race-conscious affirmative action admissions policies?  To determine the answer, just follow the percentages at each Ivy League and elite college and university.

Additionally, if Ivy League schools and elite colleges and universities will now reverse these policies to comply with The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America for equal protection/access under the law, who will and who will not benefit from the change in the policy of using race as an affirmative criterion?

Perhaps to uphold, abide by and comply with The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America for equal protection/access under the law, colleges and universities will dismiss ALL affirmative criteria and accept students in accordance with the Fourteenth Amendment.

Blog:  College Admissions is a Competitive Sport – How to Win Your Personal Admissions Game!

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions AdvisorsSummer Camps:  BS/MD Application Boot Camp and Ivy League Application Boot Camp.

 

Top Colleges Enhance Efforts To Enroll Low-Income Students

As the cost of college continues to rise, college enrollment is becoming out of reach for low-income students.   According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

Launched in December 2016, the American Talent Initiative (ATI), funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, was founded with a national goal of educating 50,000 additional high-achieving, lower-income students at the 270 colleges and universities with the highest graduation rates by 2025.

Based on the most recent federal data available, there are approximately 430,000 lower-income students enrolled at these 270 institutions.  ATI aims to increase and sustain the total number of lower-income students attending these top-performing colleges to about 480,000 by 2025. To reach this ambitious goal, ATI will work to support its members’ work while adding more top-performing colleges to its membership in the coming months and years. 

ATI now has 97 member colleges that are taking the steps toward socio-economic diversity in colleges. Each ATI member institution has started to enhance its own efforts to recruit, enroll, and support lower-income students, learn from each other, and contribute to research that will help other colleges and universities effectively serve lower-income students

Educators, college administrators and legislature recognize that America’s top-performing colleges have an important role to play in this effort.  Research shows that when high-achieving, lower-income students attend high-performing institutions, they graduate at higher rates, and have a greater chance of attaining leadership positions and other opportunities throughout their lives.  Yet in each graduating high school class, there are at least 12,500 lower-income young people with outstanding academic credentials who do not enroll at institutions where they have the greatest likelihood of graduating…

ATI currently represents many of the country’s most elite colleges and universities.  To date, all the Ivy League schools are ATI members.   Here is a direct effect of ATI:  After 28 years without transfer students, Princeton University will begin accepting students from community colleges in fall 2018.

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions Advisors.

Do Admissions Officers Consider Diversity In College Admissions?

Diversity in college admissions

Diversity in college admissions:  Colleges are looking for cultural, intellectual and meta-cognitive diversity in their classes as well as students who can relate to diverse populations.  Colleges accept classes not just great students.  They are seeking students who understand and appreciate other races cultures and ethnicities.  With regard to diversity, admissions committees ask the following questions: Can the applicant co-exist in our diverse community of different students who are global thinkers?  Does the applicant profile demonstrate a lack of a diversity experience?  Has the applicant meaningfully interacted with people outside of their socio-economic, cultural and ethnic norms?  It has been my observation that college admissions officers and deans of admissions behave like forensic investigators; they analyze and assess how, why and when dots are connected.

Colleges want talented, intellectually engaged students who will be meaningful contributing members of a diverse incoming class and future alumni who will be their global ambassadors.  They do not seek students who are “unique just like everyone else” in their respective communities.  In my experience, applicants who are accepted are those who can standout and lucidly articulate their achievements, goals and personalities and project themselves in a positive light to a committee of six to ten diverse people!

In my firm, which consists of a culturally, ethnically and racially diverse team, we truly appreciate and understand this emphasis, and we innately embrace the meaning and value of standing out and apply it to the competitive admissions process.  Our “Diversity Competitive Advantage” translates to successful admissions results for our clients!

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs;  graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.  He also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected.

Is Diversity Really Needed- In Schools?

Is Diversity Really Needed In Schools?

Some people view diversity as a nebulous and intangible descriptor, a court-ordered societal mandate or, in some cases, even unconstitutional.  In truth, diversity is an invaluable asset and in the financial sense has an unlimited ROI.  We live in a competitive and interconnected global society; not in the small, homogenous and insular communities that many may perceive.  Diversity has always been America’s greatest asset!  Diversity is a necessary precondition to our democracy and has provided the impetus for engagement in the full kaleidoscope of “American culture”.

In this series:  “Is Diversity Really Needed?”, I will address the importance of diversity in (1) Schools – Prek-12th, (2) College Admissions, (3) Business & Commerce, and (4) International Relations.

Diversity in schools (PreK-12th):  Learning in a truly culturally, ethnically, racially, socio-economically and visibly diverse school community is a valuable asset in a global society where local as well as international communication are essential.  Does diversity really matter?  Does it really matter if a child interacts with another student or a faculty member who is socio-economically, ethnically, culturally and racially different?  Perhaps it is not important to some.  However, studies show that interacting with others who are different can bring new ideas, benefits and advantages.  Diversity improves the way children think.  It inspires independent thinking and intellectual risk-taking.

By disrupting conformity and insularity, racial and ethnic diversity prompts and enhances students’ analytical and creative thinking, problem-solving, cultural and communicative intelligences and cognitive development and performance.  A diverse school environment, not one of homogeneity and sameness, has been proven by studies to improve the learning environment for children.

Diversity contributes ingenuity, creativity, cognitive friction and intellectual vibrancy to a school community.   Schools are entrusted with the responsibility of preparing students for tomorrow’s world.  Exposure to different cultures, ethnicities and races and learning to respect them is a formative experience for children in a world where cultures are more than ever interdependent and interconnected.  How will an adult interact with different cultures and appreciate other ethnicities and races if he/she has been culturally isolated or developed and learned misconceptions as a child?  Diversity precludes cultural-intelligence and competitive disadvantages.

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs;  graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.  He also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools.