Demographics Essay

With the opening of the Common Application on August 1st, the college admissions season has officially begun. For many students, this period will be characterized by a great deal of time spent with the Common App.


The Common App is utilized by many universities across the nation, and serves as a centralized application database that can help streamline the application process. (Check out our blog post How to Write the Common Application Essays 2017-2018 for the latest essay tips and tricks.)


Going in, many students already know that the Common App will ask them to list the standard components of a college application: grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, and personal statements. However, the Common App actually has several other sections designed to collect more directed information about the applicant.


Among these various components is the “Demographics” page, which we’ll be focusing on in this blog post. You can find the demographics page under the “Profile” section of the Common App.


Demographics Section



This section asks questions about an applicant’s religious preference, veteran status, and race/ethnicity. These may be questions you haven’t thought about answering on your college application. As such, you may not be sure what the purpose of these questions are, how they impact your application, or how you should answer. We’ll be answering these questions and more in this guide to the demographics page of the Common Application.


Why does the Common Application ask for my religion, veteran status, and race/ethnicity?

When you first look at the demographics section, your initial question may be why colleges want this information. Essentially, your answers will be used for demographic purposes. Colleges want to have a record of how many members from each given demographic fill out their specific application.


Chances are you’ve seen a college’s admissions statistics page online at some point. Many schools highlight some demographic information on their applicant pool on their websites, and most of that information is based on what students provide on the Common App (or school specific applications with similar questions). This is useful both for potential applicants and for the colleges themselves.


Additionally, having demographic information on record allows colleges to see which groups are well-represented in their pool and which groups aren’t. This can be especially beneficial when colleges are deciding how they should direct their outreach efforts to potential applicants. For instance, if one group is particularly underrepresented in a given admissions cycle, colleges may make a stronger effort to reach out to potential applicants from that group in the next cycle.


This information, specifically with regards to race and ethnicity, can also be used for affirmative action purposes. Some universities take into account race and ethnicity when evaluating applicants, and this may be one consideration in the holistic admissions process employed by many schools.


Underrepresented minorities (URMs), such as African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American students, may be given an extra advantage in admissions. Additionally, white and Asian American students may be held to higher admissions standards. Each school has a slightly different approach to affirmative action, and there’s no way to determine just how much of a role race and ethnicity play across the board. However, affirmative action is one reason why colleges want your demographic information.


Keep in mind that you are not obligated to answer any question in this section. All questions are entirely optional, and whether or not you choose to respond is up to you. You should ultimately do whatever you feel comfortable with.


Will listing my religion hurt my chances of admission?



The first question in the demographics section asks for students to select their religious preference from a drop-down menu. Many different faiths are listed, and students also have the option to select “none” if they feel that best reflects their personal religious preferences.


But will listing your religious preference potentially hurt your application? Most likely not. In fact, by law, public colleges and colleges that receive public funding in any form are not permitted to discriminate for any reason. No matter what religion you choose to list on your Common App, you can rest assured that it will not impact your application to these schools in any way.


The answer is a little different for private colleges. These universities are not bound to the same rules, and thus there is no such law that applies to them in this way. However, generally, there will be no reason for a college to discriminate on the basis of religion.


Indeed, even parochial or faith-based schools often accept applicants from outside the faith. In fact, if you look up the demographic information for most universities, both private and public, you’ll find that many different religions are represented on their campuses. In short, listing your religion is unlikely to hurt your chances of admission in any way.

Development is an improvement in the quality of life in the population. It is a very complex concept but there are 4 inter-related features (economic, social, political, technological progress). Demography covers two aspects: population and migration. Why are demographic issues likely to hold back sustainable development?

Population issues depend on whether a country can support its population according to natural and human resources because otherwise it is will create a drain on resources and alter or hold back development. The Malthusian theory introduced the idea of the optimum population. Sweden is considered to have the optimum population in relation with its resources and it is the most developed country in the world. Similarly, Netherlands has the densest population in the world but it is its optimum population. On the other hand, Kenya and Uganda have a very high population as well but not enough resources. In Uganda, fertility rate is of 7 children per woman and the birth rate is 3,6%. To be as rich, or as poor, as their parents, these children would need an economy twice as large which is not possible in such a short time. The youth wave seems to be occurring in societies that appear less equipped to receive it. Yet, in the stage ¾ of DTM, countries have a situation of having a labour force that is much larger than both its dependent young and old which gives the country a 30-40 year opportunity to generate wealth, save it, invest and develop the country. Nevertheless, it is not sure whether Uganda can benefit this bonus since the system will have to educate twice as many children in 15 years and the unemployment rate is 30%. Consequently, an imbalance in size of the population is a major concern for developing countries.

However, MEDCs are also faced with population issues since an imbalance in gender and an ageing population can affect their economic and social policies. Soon one person in every 3 will be over the age of 60. This phenomenon could result in increase in national spending, state pension provision, hospitals, nursing homes which will constitute a burden on the GDP. Indeed, most rich countries already spent 8% of GDP on public pensions and some as Italy with about 33%. Ageing is said to bring a general slowing of economy growth hindering development as well as a decrease in standard of living among the poorest elderly. However, ageing could create a new consumer market or time for the good of the community which would beneficial to development. Nevertheless, an ageing population is a concern for development and it has to be taken into account by future policies. Besides, an imbalance in gender has been proven to harm development. In China, selecting gender has resulted in a population imbalance with 120 for 100 women. Obviously, it increases social tensions as 1 in 5 men will never be able to marry but studies have also proven that gender imbalance is essential in a viable economy. As a result, MEDCs are also faced with other demographics problems which have to be dealt with before they become they create a development gridlock.

Migration is another demographic issue which affects the development of all countries worldwide. Indeed, it is linked with the previous population issues. The USA for example, is the only MEDC in the world which is not experiencing an ageing population and this is mostly due to migration with accounts for 40% of the birth rate. On top of that, migrants are most of the time doing jobs locals do not want to do so they are stimulating the economic growth. Indeed, the Institute of Economic and Social Research has published that 17% of the economic growth in 2004 and 2005 is attributable to immigration, which obviously increased the value of GDP. On the other hand, an under developed country may experience huge migration of all its qualified people which will create a vicious circle of poverty such as in Ghana where 50% of the doctors have left. However, on average, a 10 % increase in the share of international remittances in a country’s GDP will lead to a 1.6 per cent decline in the share of people living in poverty. Indeed, temporary migrants send about 25% of their earnings home and this amount of money represents 2,5% of Poland GDP. As a consequence, remittances cut poverty since money tend to be used for basic needs such as food shelter, education or health care. To that extent, migrations are both a cause and a consequence of development which means they obviously are a concern for development.

In conclusion, demographic issues can have various effects on different countries but they are all a real concern for development especially since the world has never been more populated with an estimation of 6,9 billion and the number of international migrants is expected to rise to 405 million by 2050. 

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