Diversity: Appearance v. Reality

By Beth Hanson

Beloit College emphasizes its diversity in information targeted towards prospective students.  One fact that is often highlighted is that the college boasts students from 49 states and 48 countries.  The college also highlights the stories of ethnically diverse students.

Two of the four students featured in the “Beloit College Viewbook”, a resource for prospective students found at, indicate the presence of ethnic diversity on campus.  Sherrick O’Quinn ’10 talks about his experience growing up as an African-American, starting the Black Men’s Club on campus and studying abroad in Ghana.  Ahmad Javid ’11, an international student from Afghanistan, talks about the mutual lack of understanding between the U.S. and Afghanistan, as well as the diversity found at Beloit.

Showcasing unique students who do interesting things draws students to campus.  While ethnically diverse students do exist on campus, prospective students may be misled by what they see and read in the information that is made available to them.

Statistics of the racial and ethnic composition of students on campus can also be found on the website, but not clearly in the prospective students section.

“Beloit College Fact Sheets,” current to 2010 and produced by Institutional Research, can be found at  They show that the student body is:  73.5 percent white. The “Beloit College Student Profile,” current to the 2011-2012 academic year and produced by the Office of Admissions, can be found at  This profile indicates more diversity, stating that the student body is marginally more diverse:  68 percent Caucasian, 11 percent non-resident, three percent unknown, and 18 percent domestic minority

These statistics are not easily made available to prospective students, who rely on resources that may lead them to believe that Beloit is more diverse than it is in reality.  With these perceptions in mind, students may be surprised or disappointed when they arrive on campus.



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