Experts Divided Over Impact of Absent Father-themed College Admission Essays

When high school students from low-income households craft their college admission essays, chances are good that many of them will focus on or at least mention the absence of their fathers.

At a charter school in Washington, D.C., for instance, a Class of 2015 student wrote of how her father walked out of her life when she was in the eighth grade and “never came back.”

“I always had a feeling my father was going to come back,” the girl wrote in one of several college admission essays or personal statements that were shared with Diverse.

“Unfortunately, I had everything wrong,” the girl wrote. “When he left it hit me like a bomb, tearing my heart into pieces.”

Another high school senior in D.C. wrote of being “Daddy’s little girl” until her father—who once had “good government jobs”—turned to drugs.

Another Class of 2015 student in the nation’s capital wrote about growing up and seeing his mother cry “from struggling to pay bills to taking care of two children without a father in the household.”

And so go the dominant themes in countless college admission essays penned by students from low-income households throughout the United States.

Such stories are quite prevalent among Black students and—at least statistically speaking—with good reason: 54 percent of Black families with children under 18 are maintained by mothers, according to US Census Bureau data. <Read more.>

Via Jamaal Abdul Alim, Diverse Issues in Higher Education.