Q: I go to a very diverse high school, which I really enjoy, and would like to find that quality in a college as well. As a student athlete, how should I check to see if a campus is a good fit for me and also has the diverse population I am looking for?
A: Every high school student should make a prioritized check list when it comes to choosing a college. It sounds like diversity is at the top of your list — which is great! When analyzing diversity, you really need to do as much research as possible to see if the school would be a good fit for you and if the student body is made up of the diverse mix of cultures, races and religions you are looking for.
Here are some tips that will help you evaluate the diversity of a school, especially when it comes to athletics:
1. Research your prospective team and all the other teams in the athletic department over the past three to five years. What type of players does the school recruit and what is their retention rate for different players?
2. Look up the percentage of different races, religions and ethnicities for the incoming freshman classes over the past three to five years. You might also want to look at the male to female student ratio as part of your research.
3. Talk to students on campus. Ask students that are not part of your official tour to get unsolicited answers. Social media is also a great way for you to reach out and contact people for their opinion. Find out what other students have to say.
4. Research team members to see if they have attended diverse high schools; you can simply check the rosters for their high schools. You may also want to consider reaching out to some of the players through social media sites or email (if available).
5. Talk to current or former team members about the head coach and assistant coaches and how they handle players.
Learning about different cultures and people is a large part of the college experience. Having the opportunity to be in a positive and comfortable environment is also critical to college success. It will be important that you take the time to research and formulate your opinion for each potential college, and as I said, if diversity is at the top of your list of what you want to find in a college, then by all means, make it a priority. You’ll be happy that you did.
Chris Bianchi is the president of Red Penguin Athletics (www.redpenguinathletics.com), an athlete placement service in Upstate New York.