ORLANDO, Fla. — The U.S. Supreme Court caused a major shake-up to the college application and admission process on Thursday.

What You Need To Know

  • The U.S. Supreme Court banned the use of affirmative action in the college admission process Thursday
  • Florida banned race-based affirmative action in 1999

  • Before Thursday, eight other states had already banned race-based affirmative action in college admissions

The Supreme Court ruled that colleges and universities can not take race in to consideration as a parameter for granting a potential student admission. 

Affirmative action had benefited minority students in higher education for decades.

This past year, Lake Highland Prep student Ameerah Dhaiti learned all about affirmative action during her junior year.

“Affirmative action is a chance to level the playing field,” Dhaiti said.

She did a presentation on the topic along with two classmates.

“For decades, elite colleges and universities closed their doors to students of color,” Dhaiti read from her school essay. “As a result, students of color remain vastly unrepresented at the country’s top tier institutions.”

For those who still couldn’t get a clear understanding of affirmative action, Dhaiti and her classmates used illustrations to better explain it.

One of the images showed three people of different heights in two pictures. In the first one, the tall person can see over the fence; the medium height person has one box to just see over the fence; and the shortest person has one box but can’t see over it.

In the second image, all three are on boxes that make them the same height.

“It’s when you don’t really see the struggle and you say everything is equal and it may not actually be equal,” Dhaiti said. “When you give that opportunity to those that need it, it can make an equal playing field, and it can give everyone a chance to achieve what they want moving forward.” 

Before Thursday’s ruling, Florida was already one of nine states that had banned race-based affirmative action.

Dr. Leroy Pernell, a professor of law at Florida A&M University, says the Supreme Court’s ruling now forces a tough question across the entire country when it comes to admissions.

“How, in light of the decision, will higher learning institutions work with the reality of what our society really is and the impact that it has on different communities?” he asked.

Dhaiti said that part of her college deciding process will be whether the school has committed to diversify.

She’s looking at schools like the University of Connecticut, Oregon, Gonzaga, and Columbia.

“Because of how many people are allowed to attend Columbia, whether you are of Asian descent African descent, white descent — I Believe Columbia, at least all the (Ivy League schools) give more of an opportunity to showcase that and I think it is very important to all off those schools.”

The soon to be Lake Highland Prep senior has a 4.2 GPA and will start applying to college in the fall.

She says her hope is that, despite the recent Supreme Court ruling, the admissions officers who read her application will take into consideration more than just an SAT score or her GPA.