Most students have several pressing concerns when it comes to their college experience. First there is the admission process to contend with. And once they’ve gained entry into a school of choice, they have to worry about paying for tuition and other expenses, securing a dorm room or other living arrangements, and nabbing a spot in the classes that fit their planned curriculum and their weekly schedule. On top of that, they might be looking into internships or even part-time work on campus, and they’d probably like to explore a social life now that they’re away from the many restrictions imposed by parents. What most students might not necessarily think about when they start college is just how much they can benefit from diversity on campus. Here are a few reasons why a diverse student population is an important part of any college coed’s experience.
Some students come from places that are fairly homogenous. And while they may enjoy tight-knit communities of like-minded people, the drawback is that they never really get to experience other cultures and belief systems first-hand. However, attending a college that boasts a diverse population of students from different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds, or even a large international student presence, can awaken sheltered students to a whole new way of living, interacting with others, and viewing the world. This, in turn, can create a world of unexpected opportunities.
First and foremost, interacting with a diverse array of students can help to increase understanding and tolerance. Although people may differ in numerous ways based on their background, heritage, and experiences, we are all basically the same. We all want to find happiness, love, success, comfort, and acceptance. Diversity on a college campus can only help to prepare students for the many people they will meet in the professional world and in life, in general. Developing tolerance, understanding, and a strong desire to interact with diverse groups now can only increase opportunities to make and maintain strong friendships and working relationships down the line.
Of course, there’s a lot more to encountering diversity than simply adopting a “live and let live” attitude. Students will also benefit from understanding and exploring different viewpoints. All of us rely on our knowledge, skills, and experiences to guide our decisions. One of the greatest advantages of enjoying college campus diversity is that students will be exposed to new ways of thinking, expanding their own base of knowledge and their ability to think outside of their own culturally imposed boxes along the way. This can be a major boon in the workplace, helping to drive innovation, productivity, teamwork, and success. It doesn’t take a tutorial from DiversityInc best practices to understand that cooperation amongst workers is an ideal way to achieve goals. And growing businesses are looking for employees that understand and support this concept.
On a more personal note, students that encounter and welcome diversity during their time in college can forge lifelong friendships, in addition to a network of colleagues, that offer interactions and experiences not possible within a homogenous group. Although meeting new people, especially those that come from diverse backgrounds, can be intimidating and even frightening for some, overcoming differences is well worth the trouble of breaking down the artificial barriers that separate us. The rewards of accepting diversity in college cannot be measured in money, necessarily, but they will stay with students for the rest of their lives.