Cambridge University is one of the most prestigious ivy league schools in the world. It’s world renowned for its impressive architecture and history as well as for the bright students who get accepted to the exclusive school. But one demographic is severely underrepresented in ivy league universities, black and minority students.
The 15 black students who were accepted to the university in 2015 made a post that has inspired thousands. Cambridge’s African-Caribbean Society took a picture in the university’s iconic courtyard. This photo has been shared countless times since.
The post is meant to encourage young black men to apply at Cambridge and other exclusive educational institutions.
The post reads: “In 2015, only 15 black, male undergraduates were accepted into Cambridge. However, it is important that despite their underrepresentation, we let young black people know that this is something that they can aspire to.”
The post concludes with, “Inspired by the viral image of young black men from Yale, the Cambridge ACS decided to capture just some of the black men who contribute to one of the world’s most innovative intellectual spaces. Representation matters. #BlackBoyJoy #BlackMenofCambridgeUniversity.”
The post has garnered attention on Facebook with over 4,000 likes and over 1,000 shares to spread their words of encouragement to other aspiring black students. They have already inspired other black men and women at ivy league schools to make similar posts.
The American version of Cambridge, Yale, had students follow suit in April with their post, which has since also gone viral.
One commentator, Bilal, wrote from prior experience: “Listen, having gone to Cambridge myself, yes the stats are shocking but take the message and be encouraged to apply.”
One of the students in the Cambridge image, Folajimi Babasola, a 20-year-old engineer student, spoke to the BBC about breaking the stereotype. “The aim of the picture was really to encourage more black students to apply here because many people get discouraged by a particular image or stereotype of a Cambridge student that they have in their mind, thinking that they won’t fit in or be accepted,” he said.
Of the 3,449 students accepted to Cambridge University in 2015, only 38 applicants, who declared themselves as black, were accepted.
That’s less than a 1% acceptance rate. Sure, grades or the large sum of money needed to attend might hinder some students, but potential applicants shouldn’t be deterred from applying simply because of their race.