I was really moved by this article showcasing great efforts by many universities to uplift an often invisible group of marginalized students. I wish my own alma mater would take more of a hint!
In an effort to be the change, I just signed up to be an applicant interview volunteer in Kentucky. It's super easy to sign up at alumni.stanford.edu! Don't know how much those interviews will make a difference in a student's acceptance, and we need to do far more work to encourage more rural students to apply in the first place, but it's the first thing I can do out of college to make my school better and more equitable. If kids from Palo Alto and Manhattan are going to get an extra advocate in the application process, so will kids in any place I live going forward.
I know I talk about this constantly but as a quick reminder of why this matters so much to me: there were only five students in my college class from my entire state, only one of whom was from a rural area in Kentucky. Some individual high schools in affluent areas send ten or more students to Stanford every year. Nearly all of those kids had the chance to interview with a nearby alumni, if they wanted to, who would write a report afterwards to supplement the student's application. None of us from KY, to my knowledge, were offered an alumni interview when we were applying, because there weren't enough alumni in the state. It's a self-fulfilling cycle: again, I'm not sure exactly how much the interviews matter in final decisions, but it CAN'T help to not even have the opportunity. With that in mind, I would strongly encourage other alums from the South and Midwest in particular to consider this volunteer opportunity, too. (KY girl rant #34387834 over)