1. Home
  2. /
  3. Politics
  4. /
  5. Slideshow
  6. /
  7. Jewish Students Reconsider College...

Jewish Students Reconsider College Applications Amid Campus Antisemitism

The aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent campus debates surrounding antisemitism have prompted Jewish students and their families to reconsider their college choices.

Concerns about safety and administrative responses have led some applicants to look beyond prestigious institutions like Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.

Reevaluating College Selection

Credit: DepositPhotos

As the turmoil stemming from the Hamas attack and the Gaza Strip invasion engulfed colleges in the United States, high school seniors found themselves amid college application season.

Jewish students and their parents began scrutinizing universities more closely, weighing factors beyond academic offerings.

Safety and Administration’s Response

Credit: DepositPhotos

The focus shifted to questions of physical safety on campus and whether university administrations were attentive to complaints and concerns.

These considerations gained prominence in the college selection process.

Moving Away from Harvard and Penn

POZNAN, POL – MAR 7, 2023: Advertisement billboard displaying logo of Harvard University, a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts — Photo by monticello

Harvard and Penn faced criticism for their handling of antisemitism on campus post-Hamas attack.

Some wealthy graduates pledged to withhold donations, and the university presidents resigned following congressional testimony.

The tarnished reputations have influenced the choices of prospective students.

Impact on Columbia University

Credit: DepositPhotos

Columbia University in Manhattan also faced scrutiny due to campus protests, which affected some applicants’ decisions.

For example, one student’s mother, Michele Shenker, refrained from sending her daughter’s application after evaluating the situation.

Dartmouth’s Response

Credit: DepositPhotos

Dartmouth College in rural New Hampshire garnered attention for responding to the Hamas attack.

The college organized forums to promote dialogue among students, earning praise from Jewish parents.

Influence of Congressional Hearing

Credit: WASHINGTON D.C., USA – Sep 18, 2014: Speech by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko at the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives in Washington, DC (USA) — Photo by palinchak

The congressional hearing in December, where Harvard, Penn, and MIT presidents were grilled over their handling of campus antisemitism, played a significant role in shaping perceptions.

Some students had already applied to Harvard and Penn but expressed regret.

Effect on College Application Deadlines

Credit: DepositPhotos

While early applications are typically due in November and the regular decision deadline is in early January, Dartmouth reported an 18% increase in early decision applications.

Penn received over 8,500 applications, and Harvard saw a 17% decline in early action applications.

Uncertain Impact on Harvard Applications

Credit: DepositPhotos

Although Harvard faced significant controversies related to antisemitism and diversity debates following the Israel-Hamas war, the exact reasons behind the decline in applications remain unclear.

Concerns Extend to Muslim Students

Credit: DepositPhotos

Muslim students also encountered concerns due to the tense atmosphere on campuses and a rise in Islamophobic incidents.

Some Muslim students opted not to apply to Harvard and Penn, with parents encouraging them to stay closer to home or choose schools with larger Muslim communities.

Mixed Reactions Among Students

Credit: DepositPhotos

Not all high school students altered their college lists.

Some parents exhibited more significant concern than their children, who were still determined to attend prestigious universities.

Challenges to Dream Schools

Credit: DepositPhotos

Despite tensions and concerns, many students remained determined to pursue their dreams of attending elite institutions like Harvard and Penn.

The desire to fight antisemitism and intolerance persisted among some applicants.

Legal Action Against Harvard

Credit: DepositPhotos

A group of Jewish students filed a lawsuit against Harvard, alleging the school failed to address campus antisemitism that surged after the Hamas attack.

This legal action influenced prospective Jewish students’ decisions.

Universities’ Responses

Credit: DepositPhotos

Several universities, including Columbia, Harvard, and Penn, have formed task forces to address antisemitism and Islamophobia on campus.

They emphasize the importance of fostering diverse perspectives and navigating discomfort through dialogue.

Exploring Alternative Options

Credit: DepositPhotos

Some students, like Brielle Stone from North Carolina, began considering alternative universities after reported antisemitism incidents at their initial choices.

Florida’s incentives for Jewish students and the prospect of in-state tuition have led some to explore schools in the state.

Resilience and Determination

Credit: DepositPhotos

Despite challenges and concerns, some Jewish students and their families are determined not to let the events intimidate them.

They believe in fighting against antisemitism rather than hiding from it.

Read More From The Stock Dork

Credit: Scott Eisen/Getty Images