For higher-education students, diversity on campus has a positive impact on the educational and social aspects of college, as well as their future. Not only does diversity enable students to work with people from other races, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, but it also challenges the views they are accustomed to, leading to more awareness and understanding of differing beliefs and customs.
According to an article from the Center for American Progress, “More than half of all U.S. babies today are people of color, and by 2050 our nation will have no clear racial or ethnic majority. Our nation is changing, and our higher education institutions need to reflect this diversity.”
Whether you’re searching for a diverse campus community or interested in learning how diversity can further enhance your college experience, here are the top five benefits of diversity on campus for students.
1. Campus diversity enriches the educational experience.
Through classroom and social interactions, students have the opportunity to learn from people with different backgrounds and upbringings, leading to increased innovation and collaboration.
As the Center for American Progress notes, “Research shows that the overall academic and social effects of increased racial diversity on campus are likely to be positive, ranging from higher levels of academic achievement to the improvement of near- and long-term intergroup relations.”
2. Diversity improves communication and thought processing skills.
Through a diverse campus, students are challenged to interact with people of various backgrounds, which enables them to learn to communicate more effectively and often differently than they are accustomed to.
According to an article from The Century Foundation,”Students who interacted with racially and ethnically diverse peers showed significant gains in cognitive skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving.”
3. Campus diversity challenges stereotypes.
Often, students are raised around people of similar socioeconomic, racial or cultural characteristics. For many students, regardless of whether or not they identify as part of a minority or diverse population, college will challenge predisposed stereotypes or norms that may have been developed during adolescence, making them more accepting, tolerant members of society.
4. Students can see themselves in their leaders.
Diverse peers aren’t the only way students benefit. They also get the chance to see and experience various leadership styles from faculty, staff, administrators and community members. For many students it’s a chance to see someone like them that they can emulate.
5. Diversity better prepares students for the workforce.
According to the American Council on Education, “Education within a diverse setting prepares students to become good citizens in an increasingly complex, pluralistic society; it fosters mutual respect and teamwork; and it helps build communities whose members are judged by the quality of their character and their contributions.
Ultimately, studies show that diversity on campus improves “intellectual engagement, self-motivation, citizenship and cultural engagement, and academic skills like critical thinking, problem solving, and writing – for students of all races. Interacting with diverse peers outside a classroom setting directly benefits students, making them better scholars, thinkers, and citizens.”
What do you think are some additional benefits of diversity on campus?