Driving Equity & Access

One of EMA’s core goals and what we strive to stand for is to be a catalyst for equity and access, adding lasting value to society.

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A Commitment to Student and Family Access

At EMA, we are deeply committed to creating and demonstrating an impactful commitment to guiding principles for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging that serve the independent school community. From ensuring EMA’s enrollment tools are equitable and serve the diverse needs of all populations to enhancing processes that support diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the EMA employee life cycle (and in all EMA’s tools and services) as well as expanding advocacy activities that enhance independent schools’ public trust and goodwill.


Expertise, Guidance & Thought Leadership

Expertise, Guidance & Thought Leadership

Staying Ahead of Today’s Critical Issues:

The US Supreme Court's Ruling on Affirmative Action: What's Next for Independent Schools

The Supreme Court issued a decision on June 29, 2023, severely restricting the consideration of race as a factor in higher education admission policies. The Court’s decision examined the race-conscious admission policies at both Harvard and the University of North Carolina and struck down both programs, altering decades of precedent regarding how race can be used in higher education admission to recruit a diverse student population. While the decision does not directly address the use of race as a factor in admission at schools that are not subject to the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment or Title VI, it may nonetheless have downstream effects on the independent school community.

  • Listen to our EMA pre-decision podcast.
  • Dive deeper by listening to the NAIS-EMA webinar replay, which included a panel of legal, communications, admissions, college counseling, and DEI professionals who explored how the ruling could impact independent schools and offered considerations for schools on how to respond to the ruling.

China’s Personal Information Protection Law

EMA is working closely with our service partner in China, BTS Education (BTS), to ensure our registration and administration processes for the SSAT, Character Skills Snapshot, and Standard Application Online (SAO) comply. As part of our compliance efforts, we are abiding by a recommended monthly SSAT registration limitation; however, higher-than-average SSAT demand has led to the August seats selling out. Additional seats will become available in early September. We are monitoring the situation closely and will release additional testing seats as soon as possible.

  • If families contact your school, please direct them to BTS for the most up-to-date SSAT availability information at:

Expertise, Guidance & Thought Leadership

Growing Your Knowledge & Your Network:

The Yield Magazine

Tap into EMA’s The Yield magazine, packed with valuable stories written by our members and partners for our members and partners, including best practice strategies, valuable data and insights, and new resources and tools to help you achieve your school’s DEI goals. Download a specific issue or search for specific diversity, equity, and inclusion articles .

Podcast Series

Listen to EMA’s podcast series Different Perspectives to gain important insights from experts in our field on a wide range of DEI topics.

Professional Development and Seminars

Our programs not only help you discover new solutions to your tactical and strategic DEI challenges and goals but also ensure you're growing as a leader. More than 3,700 admission professionals attend our in-person training, events, and conferences each year – all with various DEI components. Check the programs highlighted below and all our professional development events.

Culture & Belonging: Neurodiversity Trends in Our Schools

October 12 12:00 – 3:00 PM ET

By embracing neurodiversity in the admission interview process, schools can create an inclusive, compassionate, and supportive environment that nurtures the talents and potential of all students, regardless of their neurological differences. Join us and learn from the latest research, take back proven techniques and hear tactical case studies.

EMA Think Tank Initiative

As social justice movements continue to gain momentum, it grows increasingly clear that unrepresented students of color, students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, or those who may be entering schools with heteronormative communities want more than to be simply represented in the numbers.

Admission directors, their extended administrative school partners and faculty must work to ensure that students and their families feel fully and meaningfully integrated into the community, while at the same time ensuring that the school’s mission is met.

To support this important work and address critical questions raised by its members, EMA established its DEIJ Think Tank in 2021. This is a diverse, member-led group of experts from schools and access organizations across the United States and Canada who are involved in DEIJ work through a range of roles.

inclusive community

Enrollment Tools

EMA is committed to creating an inclusive community for our members, families, and students. To support this goal, EMA enhanced how we collect data on our platforms.

Starting August 1, 2022 families and students can now select expanded options for non-binary gender, race, and ethnicity.

These changes are a continuation of a mindful integration that began with last year’s introduction of the Mx. prefix options.

Aligning with Standards

After receiving guidance from outside experts, EMA aligned with U.S. Census and National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) standards for the collection of the data to improve consistency with national standards.

We also worked closely with the enrollment management software providers that integrate with EMA products to understand their requirements and ensure they will be prepared to adopt our new data fields.


Through these steps, our goal is to ensure our schools receive more comprehensive data that will support their needs. Regardless of whether schools receive the data from the integration partners or the EMA Member Access Portal, all can obtain the new data in the PDF and CSV files accurately and consistently.

New and Updated Fields

Parents and students can now share more specific demographic information with schools when creating their account on the EMA family portal using the following new and updated fields:

  • Parent and Student Pronouns
  • Gender
  • Sex at Birth
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • First Language
  • Faith-Based Affiliations


The newly expanded options also will enable families to self-select their school-gender preferences and feel better represented in SAO applications, SSAT and Snapshot reporting, and the Student Prospect Lists.