Pacific Islander Applicant

Admissions strategy and application process for URM applicants.
Post Reply
nchrpmn
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:37 pm

Pacific Islander Applicant

Post by nchrpmn » Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:40 pm

I was wondering how being a pacific islander (Guam) is treated in URM admissions. Since I'm Guamanian, I'm both a Pacific Islander and Hispanic. I've seen some sites saying that pacific islanders are treated like Asian-American applicants, and I've seen others saying they're treated like Native Americans. Obviously, that's a big difference. Any insight on this? Thanks!

User avatar
necho2
Posts: 667
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:57 am

Re: Pacific Islander Applicant

Post by necho2 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:33 am

If you identify as both Hispanic and Pacific Islander I think you'll be able to indicate both of those on your applications. IIRC, the question about Hispanic descent is basically a separate question from your ethnicity- it's sort of a one-off "Hispanic Y/N?" coupled with (I think) a request regarding which country you're descended from. That's where things might get a little confusing for you- my understanding is that any Chamorro Hispanic-ness is mostly derived directly from Spain, and I don't think most law schools will necessary include Guam as a Hispanic origin country. There might be a "Other" box you can fill in though? But maybe you're part-Chamorro and part-Hispanic? That would simplify things.

I'm pretty sure they'll have a Pacific Islander ethnicity box too, I'm just not sure it will also drill down to Guam (no personal exp w this one, sorry). So you'd be able to disclose both parts of your background. A diversity statement sort of teasing this out a little (because data-wise it might be uncommon) could be a good idea too.

User avatar
pancakes3
Posts: 5159
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 3:00 pm

Re: Pacific Islander Applicant

Post by pancakes3 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:46 am

but box-checking is done for reporting purposes. iirc, only african americans, native americans, mexicans, and puerto ricans are considered URMs for admission purposes.

you can check the box for native american, but like Necho said, flesh it out in your diversity statement.

my gut instinct? don't claim native status. also, be consistent. did you check native for college admissions, and other demographic-asking documents? if not, don't start now. you might run into issues for c&f.

User avatar
necho2
Posts: 667
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:57 am

Re: Pacific Islander Applicant

Post by necho2 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:54 am

Oh I missed the Native thing. I wouldn't call yourself that based on being Chamorro. It doesn't really fit into the framework, and especially don't do it if you haven't identified yourself like that in the past. I'm not sure the URM bump is solely for Mexican/Puerto Rican descent (although that would be consistent with the "under represented" purpose), but I don't have hard evidence for that- just seems nonsensical that law schools wouldn't give someone from Guatemala or El Salvador a boost.

User avatar
Nony
Posts: 7725
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:34 pm

Re: Pacific Islander Applicant

Post by Nony » Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:40 am

I actually think Chamorro would fit under Native/indigenous, though. (Can't remember how the categories are described.) I think Pacific Islanders, especially in colonized territories, are much more analogous to indigenous/native than Asian-American.

So basically I agree with the suggestion that you write a diversity statement and give some context for admissions officers.

nchrpmn
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2020 7:37 pm

Re: Pacific Islander Applicant

Post by nchrpmn » Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:35 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:46 am
but box-checking is done for reporting purposes. iirc, only african americans, native americans, mexicans, and puerto ricans are considered URMs for admission purposes.
How do you know this? Since race/ethnicity statistics only say "Hispanic," why would other Latin American countries not fall under urm?

User avatar
necho2
Posts: 667
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:57 am

Re: Pacific Islander Applicant

Post by necho2 » Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:08 pm

nchrpmn wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 6:35 pm
pancakes3 wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 10:46 am
but box-checking is done for reporting purposes. iirc, only african americans, native americans, mexicans, and puerto ricans are considered URMs for admission purposes.
How do you know this? Since race/ethnicity statistics only say "Hispanic," why would other Latin American countries not fall under urm?
My understanding (from a while back) is that even though they report the stats like that, the fact that they're trying to identify "underrepresented" minorities tends to focus the URM boost on hispanic groups that are actually underrepresented in the legal profession. That's pretty clearly true for AAs, mexicans/mexican-americans and puerto ricans, but less true for Cubans, and when you start digging into folks from South American countries who aren't necessarily actually underrepresented relative to their share of the population in the US at all. Obviously the ABA reporting doesn't necessarily go into this much detail, and if people who checked the box but also disclosed that they're from somewhere outside those countries got roughly the same URM boost, that might be different, but the conventional wisdom last time I was focused on this was that the URM boost was somewhat dependent on where you were actually from.
Nony wrote:
Thu Jun 04, 2020 11:40 am
I actually think Chamorro would fit under Native/indigenous, though. (Can't remember how the categories are described.) I think Pacific Islanders, especially in colonized territories, are much more analogous to indigenous/native than Asian-American.

So basically I agree with the suggestion that you write a diversity statement and give some context for admissions officers.
Maybe this would depend on how the options are set up? I mostly used Chamorro to refer to non-white, non-recent Filipino inhabitants of Guam, but that's still a mish-mosh of Spanish, Polynesian, and Micronesian ancestry I think. So it would seem odd to me to call yourself a Native American, and while "indigenous" might be right, but Guam's such a strange little exception that it doesn't seem quite right to me... In any event I think we mostly agree on this- check whatever feels right and is inconsistent w/ how you've self-identified in the past, then write a diversity statement explaining it in more detail.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests