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Thursday, 11 August 2022

Will race stop being the inclusivity benchmark at US colleges? + First impressions on LinkedIn cost a pretty penny

PSA- Universities in the US could soon have more inclusive approaches to admissions strategies. Two lawsuits currently before the Supreme Court could restrict or outlaw the common practice among universities that sees them taking applicants’ race into consideration in the admissions process, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing university admissions officials and counselors. For decades, colleges have taken applicants’ race into account when making admissions decisions, since the legal framework as it currently stands permits colleges to consider race in their admissions decisions, but does not impose an outright rigid quota for minority applicants. (Editor’s note: Egyptian and other North African applicants are typically considered as “Caucasian” — not a minority group.)

So what different approaches might we see? Universities are mulling using income as a proxy for race, with the obvious drawback being that race does not accurately correlate to income level and would likely change the demographic mix of accepted applicants. Some institutions say they are also considering ending the use of “legacy status” (applicants who have close family members who attended the same college) as a factor for admission, as it disproportionately gives preference to white and wealthy applicants. However, this option appears to be an unlikely route for universities concerned about losing donations. Other approaches include looking at metrics other than high-school GPAs and test scores, which could help boost diversity, and proactively reaching out to low-income students to let them know that if admitted they would qualify for a scholarship.

The booming professional headshot industry shows that more and more people will shell out USD 1k or more to make a great first impression on LinkedIn: Amid a period of record job changes, and with pressure to cultivate an online image going strong, an increasing number of people are ready to invest in the perfect professional headshot to stand out from the crowd. Photographers leading this burgeoning industry estimate that business professionals now make up 90% of their clients, in a complete turnaround from their early career days shooting models, the Wall Street Journal reports.

It’s all about “authenticity,” not vanity, subjects maintain. Headshot photographers speaking to the WSJ offer facial-expression coaching or have informal pre-shoot coffee chats with their subjects to produce images that look professional but not stuffy. For this, they might charge anything from USD 245-1.5k for a photo session and USD 240-300 per image used. But headshot converts maintain it’s worth it to get usable images to put forward the “best versions” of themselves. LinkedIn data — which shows that bios with headshots get 21 times more views than those without, and that users receive nine times more connection requests when they use pictures — may support them. We…remain skeptical.

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