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Color, Race and Money in College


Various issues affect college life. In such situations, race, color and money play a huge role in determining how students go through life in college, particularly at the first year of enrollment. These factors couple with personal attributes, such as the socioeconomic status, mental ability, level of family involvement, academic skills, and motivation to influence how first year students cope with life in college.

Color and Race

Race and color play out together in influencing students relations. Therefore, within college, color is a considerable factor that determines how students interact. As a first year student, I feel that most friendships anchor on the color or race factors. It is common to see white students interact mainly with their white counterparts, as black students mingle with their black colleagues.

A lack of better social relations has contrived students to use color or race as a major factor in grouping. This has been common because some colleges still experience strained racial relations among students. At first year, this becomes quite demeaning when a person finds roommates with tendencies to invoke racial slurs. It shows disrespect. In spite of several attempts to deal with racial issues in colleges, the vice occasionally continues to show up when students interact. Unfortunately, racial issues are hardly new in college life. Even first year students join college knowing that such instances occur. This makes the situation worse because they orient their mind to racial stereotypes regarding various races. Because of this, there is high level of racial intolerance. Therefore, racial grouping becomes the default line for interactions and formations of friendships.

Students who have developed and grown in homogenous environments find it difficult to operate in racially heterogeneous environments offered within school setups. Such students have a higher likelihood of using racial slurs against other races because they cannot appreciate diversity. On the other hand, those from racially heterogeneous backgrounds find it easy to cope with all races. Their previous backgrounds give them a foundation to lay their behavior or conducts hen dealing with people from different races. This situation played out significantly for most first year students in Trinity College. In such situations, it became clear that upbringing plays a crucial role in determining interracial relations among first year students.

Even though some students are quick to dismiss racial stereotypes and racial intolerance, the situation becomes quite regressive to first year students when it comes to racial inclusion and acceptance. In this regard, the racial issues are highly detrimental during the first year of study. It disorients students’ social life. In light of this, most of the victims have been the people of color. Such situations create invisible walls between students of various races. This has been the main reason why first year students find it easy to fit within socially acceptable boundaries of interactions. The issue of affirmative action worsens the situation on how people from races view one another, even though it has been useful in advancing the recognition human dignity, as a critical aspect of life, irrespective of race.

The issue of race and color has prevented many first year students from feeling a sense of equality and value, as members of their colleges. This leads to isolation and exclusion of some students, particularly among the monitory groups. This creates mistrust, discomfort, fear and resentment about others. The situation can result in a continuous psychological stress and anxiety, which pose negative impact on college life, learning, and overall health and wellbeing of a student. Some new students suffer from racism in silence. Some students take racial slurs as jokes and apply them most of the time when encountering people from other races. Such trends aggravate the situations. Unfortunately, the managements of most institutions leave these jokes to go unchecked. In some cases, the issue of race and color has led to fights among students. Some students who cannot tolerate jokes find it difficult to accommodate such thoughts and resort to violence as a means for vengeance.


Since joining Trinity College as a first year student, I know and understand that going to college requires big financial commitments. This means that I have to manage my money carefully. Unfortunately, at first year, I see many students still do not know how to use their money wisely. In most instances, college first year students do not know how to budget appropriately to enable them meet the numerous needs that can support their learning. Budgeting may appear obvious. However, it is surprising how several students fail to make proper estimates on the amounts they need to meet various needs. First year students just go on a spending spree only to come to their senses when they have misused a substantial amount. They cannot make simple budgets that can enable them to meet their daily educational needs, as well as those for personal upkeep.

Most students do not even think of saving part of their surplus money for future use. Money factor has played out significantly in influencing the lives of students in college. It poses enormous impact on how students interact and make friendships with one another. Students usually consider the financial background of others in choosing whom to make friends. Some students misuse their money to a point where they have to depend on payday loans. In the end, their debts spiral out of control. This brings about considerable suffering to such first years students. In view of this, improper budgeting of the limited funds by students prompts them to experience extreme cash shortage. This creates much suffering, forcing students to opt out of college.

Some students expend considerable part of their money in funding trips to foreign countries. While such trips might be useful in enabling them to explore the world and enhance their view on cultural or racial diversities, it really hurts their ability to sustain their academic programs. The students employ money on things that are unnecessary in view of their learning needs. The situation becomes worse when their parents cannot help much in meeting their financial needs at the college. Some first year students resort to huge student loans thinking that repaying will be easy once they complete their education and get a job. They fail to recognize the need to take on as much debt as they need to receive the education they want. This leads to inappropriate use of money by many first year students.

Being a first year student in Trinity College, I feel that other students do not take into account their family financial backgrounds when determining how they should use their funds. They end up falling prey to the senior students who introduce them to the consumerist culture that exists in the college. To such students, they fail to consider the broader perspective of enhancing financial probity, which ought to give a genuine sense of their financial reality. Because of this, they fail the test of ensuring financial control. This puts them in a precarious situation as time progresses. They end up in failing to acquire even course materials.

It is also common to see students form friendships based on their financial status. Those from affluent backgrounds develop close relations because of they go out together for events that others cannot manage to pay. Therefore, money can be a crucial factor in determining social lives of first years, as, in some cases, interpersonal relations rely on financial status.


As I have observed during my first year as a student, color, race and money immensely influence students’ lives, particularly during their first year. These factors combine to inform the external environment which a student has to contend with when seeking to achieve his or her college education. They have been responsible for influencing learning outcome of most students.


Interview Essay Vincent Ye

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Vincent Ye

Trinity College Interview Social Views


College education is particularly significant to all students in the United States since they get to learn and acquire new experiences. Unfortunately, it is also during college education that most students begin to realise the disparities in race and social class that are evident in society. Hence, as they pass through the entire college experience, students find that they learn and undergo some of the most painful and unfair ordeals as a result of segregation and stereotyping. In this paper, I highlight the disparities and similarities that are evident among students of a variety of races who receive financial aid and those who do not obtain the aid.  This study will then be compared with the views of two major authors, Stacey J. Lee and Beverly D. Tatum.

Interview Essay: Detecting Patterns Across Transcripts

While some may believe that higher-income students are more brand-conscious, our study of Trinity sophomores found that both financial aid and non-financial aid students were equally likely to mention brand-name clothing and machinery when discussing social class dynamics on campus. Across all 15 interviews we conducted, financial aid students mentioned either specific brand name clothing or the higher status of brand styles in 3 out of 8 interviews with financial aid students, and 4 out of 7 interviews with non-financial students. For instance, Alice, who described herself as a female, white student from an upper middle class family, explained that the fact that she drives a Mercedes makes people think that he is well off. She states “well you drive a Mercedes that must mean that you are well off” (Alice 42). Although most students did not mention the exact brand names of the clothes they wear, most of them recognised that the type and quality of clothes one wears determines their social class and friends. Kaylie, a financial aid student who said that she is a Hispanic from two Caribbean nations noted that people who wear the same brand of cloths tend to walk together (Kaylie 36). She says “If I am not wearing that particular jacket or pair of boots, they wouldn’t assume that I am on the same level as them. They wouldn’t speak to me” (Kaylie 36). Kirsten, another financial aid student views that dressing and brand name is of great significance in regard to how other students judge her (Kirsten 20). She states that when she dresses well and makes her hair, people are likely to talk to her, smile to her and open the door for her. However, when she wears “sweatpants” people are less likely to do the same and they may not acknowledge her (Kirsten 19). In her book, Stacey Lee states that clothing style among students is vital in determining one’s social class. This is because clothes are won in public and they are used to judge where one shops, their financial ability and who they socialise with (Lee 77).

A few interviewees felt that their social status curtailed them from participating in certain activities. This is because most of them were unable to raise funds so as to join certain clubs within the institution. Others were frank enough to state that the manner in which one dressed could be used to determine if they were from a rich or poor background. This does not entirely mean that they are poor but it does insinuate that some college students judge the financial status of their peers according to their outer appearance. Yvonne, a female African-American stated that others say that she is from upper class from her appearance. She notes that most of them say that “oh is she rich,” which according to her is a misjudgement since she comes from a middle class family (Yvonne 20).

There are many stereotypes directed towards many minority groups in the United States. These stereotypes range from the fact that most of them are criminals, they are uneducated while others say that they engage in the sale and buying of illegal drugs. Many white citizens are not victims of prejudice and unfair assumptions. This is the same case in the interviews. Many non-white interviewees stated that there are various kinds of stereotypes that have been said in reference to their personality and their outward look. Nine non-white students responded that many assumptions have been directed towards them. Although these assumptions are not expressed on a day to day basis, most of them have experienced prejudice and unfair judgement. Fred, a male student who describes himself as black or African American said that once in a while, campus security has stopped him in order to enquire if he is a student in the institution (Fred 23). This must have been extremely embarrassing for Fred. Juan, a male Hispanic student stated that other students thought that he was a rapper because of his minority status (Juan 4). The evidence that has been retracted from these interviewees confirms that minority groups are more likely to receive unfair assumptions as compared to majority societies.

The interview also documents various stereotypes that were directed towards Asian communities. Most Asian students were thought to be rich or talented in science and mathematics subjects. Ruby, who is an Asian, female student notes that people in the institution assumed that because of her Asian roots, she was proficient in Mathematics and Chemistry (Ruby 29). She adds that despite this assumption, she has taken a Chemistry class two times and failed both times (Ruby 29).  Kirsten, a non-white student also notes that many students say that she is rich because she is Asian. She confirms this fact by saying that her parents work hard (Kirten 15). Kirsten further comments that she works hard herself and that is why she is able to afford everything she has. From these comments, one can conclude that Kirsten’s view of attaining wealth is that one has to work diligently so as to attain prosperity. Therefore, being rich is not a birth right; it is a result of hard work and dedication.

The distribution of different genders in higher education institutions is another factor that one should consider. Traditionally, it has been thought that more male students attain education at any level while female students may not reach higher education institutions. However, the interviewees contradict this statement since there was an equal number of male and female students. This might mean that female students have started to appreciate attaining education because of their own reasons. Another factor is student dependence on their parents or guardians for financial provisions. Among the 15 students who took part in the interview, only one of them confessed to attaining their pocket money from a job they conducted apart from schooling. Abby, a white female respondent said that she has a tutoring job which she does for three hours a week.  This job provides many opportunities and privileges to her. For example, she is able to pay for her own meals (Abby 39). Another factor that was observed across all the interviewees was the enthusiasm and great regard the students had towards their experience with the whole educational context at Trinity. These students had positive comments, some stating that they were happy to meet and socialise with diverse groups in the institution.

The description of the view of the interviewees confirms and conflicts with some ideas of some authors. For instance, in her book, Stacey Lee examines 82 Asian-American students in a high performance high school. Her findings prove that Asian Americans perform extremely well in school (Lee 23). Her depiction of these students is that they work hard, have perseverance and value their education. According to Lee, this attitude ensures that the students have the same chances of attaining the American dream as compared to their white majorities (Lee 23). Lee further states that in the school context, teachers treated all Asian American students as equals. However, these Asian students divided themselves into groups according to where they came from. Therefore, there were groups of Korean students, New Wavers and other factions (Lee 25). This is a similar case as seen in the interview. Luisa, a Hispanic student confirmed that when she was a freshman, she wanted to join La Voz Latina house, which is a Hispanic club in the institution. However, he could not join the club because she felt that she was not like the rest of the Hispanic students since she was not as fluent in Spanish as they were (Luisa 10). This only proves Lee’s views that despite the normal stereotyping that minority students have to face, they also encounter seclusion within their own minority groups.

In her book, Beverly D. Tatum discusses the entire aspect of racism and how it affects children in high school and college. Tatum’s general view is that racism is a vice that has penetrated deep into the American society such that it affects the manner in which minority groups in these institutions interact with each other and with majority students. One aspect that Tatum highlights in her book is the fact that the school context has allowed isolation of students according to their backgrounds. Therefore, Asian, Indian and African American students among other factions isolate themselves in regard to sitting positions in the classroom, in the cafeteria and even in their accommodation premises (Tatum 17). This is a depiction of what one of the interviewees stated in the interview. The fact that minorities are secluded means that they have to sit alone even in places where food is taken. Kirsten, a non-white Asian student revealed that race determines daily interactions in the institution (Kirsten 18). For instance, she noticed that in the cafeteria, there was the minority side and a sport’s side. This factor often infuriates her and most of the time; she prefers to have her meals in the cave (Kirsten 18).


The topic of social and racial stratification in the United States is inevitable because it is rooted deep in every sector of the American nation. The education sector is one of the main places where seclusion and stratification is prominent. Despite the fact that most of the respondents in the interview responded positively in regard to racial segregation, the fact that some of them had negative views shows that this issue is widespread. Other factors discussed in the paper concern minority groups versus majority groups, education among boys and girls and social interactions among different social classes. Although the interview shows that racism and minority seclusion is not very widespread, Lee and Tatum have different views. This discovery shows that education policy makers and regulators have the task of conducting vital investigations that will provide more insight on this topic.

FYSM Exercise E

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Vincent Ye

Professor Dougherty


October 19, 2013

The students from Skin Deep can be taken as a perfect example of the five developmental stages defined by Beverly Tatum regarding the issue of racism prevalent across the country and in academic institutions specifically.  Their mingling and day to day interactional experience is a perfect example of Pre-encounter, Encounter and Emersion because as much as they like being around they have to face the facts in a hard way.  Although a very few reach the stage of Internalization-Commitment because of the changing behavior and awareness regarding the issue of racism being raised by white students in different universities.  However, it is quite evident that they move between these stages depending on the conditions and environment they are faced with.   Tatum (34) states that the students are adapting to “what is means to be a group targeted by racism.”  They feel the discrimination and segregation in one way or the other and most of them feel like that. But the reality is that they have been exposed to these problems differently.

The character of Dane (Texas A & M) perfectly fits in the more than one developmental stages explained by Tatum.  Though the severity in his condition cannot be compared with the usual cases but there is a strong affiliation and connection present with the race which implies the fact that his personality is mostly developed by the stages of pre-encounter, encounter and emersion.   As per the video, “We really had to pull together. I cannot bridge between the two worlds…  I am definitely gonna be with my people because they have always been there for me.  I could not have interracial friendships”.    There is a strong feeling to overcome the barriers and be a part of the overall group yet there are psychological barriers which are there in the first place because of lack of interaction between the two groups.

excerise e

Final Draft Essay

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Vincent Ye


Professor Dougherty

First Year Seminar: Color and Money

                                                Color and Money: Race and Social Class

Persuasive Essay: Debating policy in The College simulation


This essay was assigned to be written from the perspective of a class matters advocate, and does not necessarily represent the views of the author.

This year The college attracted many applicants, which was a great achievement. Current policies indicated the need to achieve more diversity in race and class representation of students by accepting more diverse students, and this admission campaign was aimed at searching for the best ones. The task was clearly set and we needed to choose three best applicants to meet the goal of the college. As a result, three students Caitlin Quinn, Jazmine Hope-Martin and Daniel Juberi joined The College learning community. This year showed that all students can rely on their knowledge and achievement indicators, such as SAT scores or GPA, with no reference to their social class; however, in some exceptional cases, the admission committee treats high social status as a substantial benefit for the applicant, which is not really fair concerning other applicants.

The overall background of this year campaign is as following. 9 of 15 applicants have been accepted and 3 have enrolled. All applicants come from different social backgrounds, and it shows that education is becoming more and more affordable for people. Out of 3 students, who   have been accepted by The College’s admission board, two applicants have 50K annual family income. They are Daniel Juberi and Rosa Martinez. In both cases of Daniel and Rosa, applicants have been offered extensive university grant, which merits $52K. Other families of accepted applicants are different in their social class earning $100-200K. The list of applicants includes 2 applicants who are ready to pay full price of their education (one not accepted); one applicant out of them comes from a family with $400K annual income (“4th round review”). This situation shows that different people have an opportunity to apply for higher education regardless if they are rich or poor. Even in this case, equality is relative because Athletic Director has recommended both Juberi and Martinez for their outstanding sport achievements. Perhaps, without this recommendation they would have less chances to enter the college (“Correspondence from Dean of Admissions”).

After all, Daniel Juberi has been accepted as a college student, and it is the right choice as he is in the worst situation out of all applicants. He is from a single-parent family, where only the mother works (“Decision Day”). Moreover, his sister is in college as well, so his family cannot afford to pay for David’s education. Even though he does not have the highest GPA scores, but his overall achievement, especially in sports, and high motivation perform the role of the most influential driver of the decision of the commission and persuades all members that he deserves this opportunity. Juberi’s poor family condition received additional points from the admission board which were expressed in 0.6 point of family legacy in overall assessment which shows that committee members were not against accepting Juberi (“4th week review”). The fact that this student gets the opportunity to study proves that The College is a place for everyone either rich or poor.

One more accepted applicant is Hope-Martin. She is a level student, with overall family income of 150K. Her example shows that the university praises academic achievement and invites really talented students to join. She represents a middle-class average American family. Obviously her case is not connected with social class attribution because she comes from a usual family with enough money to pay for her education and great academic achievement to cover the lacking rest (“Simulation Applicant Files”, “4th week review”).

Due to the current policies, The College needs to be very careful with the way it assesses its applicants. Increased attention to diversity and social class issues create a situation in which people just cannot disregard equality for all applicants who want to study at The College.  Obviously, Quinn Caitlin comes from the upper-class family with both parents working (“4th round review”). It is noted in admission reviews that “full-payer” is an advantage for the admission board to consider. Caitlin’s family members studied at The College and it gives her additional bonus in her admission review. High social status of the family, connection to the college and the desire of parents to invest in its development indicate that Caitlin is a candidate liked by the committee. Luckily, Quinn is not accepted only due to her family status, but she has all needed credentials to be accepted as well.

Usually, admission board members from all colleges argue that family legacy is a minor thing and it is considered the least. Family connection and income should not be treated as decisive factors when evaluating students who want to study at any college. One thing is to help poor students to get education if they are really motivated like Juberi (“Simulation Applicant Files”). The other case is to promote inequality by promoting rich applicants and protecting their admissions in the committee either by the committee members or by the college staff. The example of this student shows that the role of family stats is far from minor as family legacy lead to additional point from the board members and the recommendation from Vice President of Development for Caitlin Quinn. It is confusing that parent’s generosity is treated with so much attention. Moreover, the Vice President of Development promotes the personality of the richest applicant motivating his position by benefits for all The  students (“Correspondence from Dean of Admissions”). Such great attention to this factor can lead to decrease in prestige of the place and a common belief that people with much money have better opportunities to enter the place. Applicants from poor families can consider the place to be corrupted and unequal treating people with less money than their average applicants. I believe that  protectionism and additional support for rich family is not a thing to be valued by American society, where equal opportunities are viewed as a core value.

Two controversial cases are to be reviewed. On the one hand, The  is ready to accept the challenge and let students from poor families join the place. On the other hand, the cases of overt inequality and preference to accept rich students are observed. In the case of Quinn, her acceptance is quite predictable because if The College declines her application, her parents will never give any presents to the college again. Naturally, college becomes a tradition for rich families and parents are ready to please the administration of educational establishments by various gifts to the college or investments in college development. It is not fair that Quinn got a support from the Vice President even before the 3rd round of evaluation as the Vise President contacted the board when all members were in the process of their decision making. The Vise President of Development created the atmosphere of pressure on the committee and all members had to take his message into consideration (“Correspondence from Dean of Admissions”). Quinn’s acceptance is legal due to her high academic performance, leadership roles, sports and other achievements which make her a great applicant even without the support of her family. However, there is a question whether such university behavior is adequate or not concerning other students.

According to Stevens, the direct link between Quinn’s background and her opportunities to be accepted makes it less possible for other individuals to study at The College (12). Parental influence can be treated as an inherited privilege, which cannot be considered in any organization, which claims to provide equal opportunities for all applicants and students. In all other cases, students have been evaluated and treated equally. Evaluations of other applicants  accepted by The College were based on the college aims and personal achievements of each applicant, so it is possible to say that students get more and more opportunities to receive their education thanks to their high academic performance, personal qualities and achievements. According to Clotfelter, most elite colleges tend to support meritocratic character of their admissions supporting family connection and promoting their college as a family tradition or value for elite students (110-111). Quinn’s examples show that The College is not the exception from this rule and elite students are motivated to donate to the college as they will have more opportunities and influence on the institutional decision later.

Summing up, the work of admission board can be called legitimate. All of the best applicants, regardless of their social class were accepted by the board and 3 of them enrolled in the end. There is a balance as one upper class and one lower-class students enrolled. The number of poor and rich students needs to be mediated for the college to function properly. In this respect, all people should be inspired by their real opportunity to be accepted by prestigious college like The College. As a private college, The College cannot supply all students with financial aid; however, if to balance the number of rich and poor, both groups will invest in each other’s development. Still, all students need to be judged based on their personal achievement. Achievements and social status of their parents are two things that should not need to be so heavily weighted as it the case of Quinn. It is great that in this case, the applicant shows everything expected by the college from its ideal student. In the opposite case, The College college could easily lose its reputation and prove that it support elite only with no regard to those students who do not have powerful family background or enough money to pay.


Works Cited

Clotfelter, Charles T. “Alumni giving to elite private colleges and universities.”Economics of Education Review 22.2 (2003): 109-120.

“4th round review”. Color and Money Admissions Simulation Data, Trinity College, Fall 2013,

“Correspondence from Dean of Admissions” (from simulation). Color & Money seminar at Trinity College, Fall 2013,

“Decision day”. Color and Money Admissions Simulation Data, Trinity College, Fall 2013,

“Simulation Applicant Files”. Color & Money seminar at Trinity College, Fall 2013,

Stevens, Mitchell L. Creating a class: College admissions and the education of elites. Harvard University Press, 2009.