Disadvantages of school uniforms for college

Written by michael davidson
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Disadvantages of school uniforms for college
School uniforms in a college setting have disadvantages. (Teenagers reading book image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com)

The subject of school uniforms has been controversial for decades. While there is little dispute that schools utilising uniforms have fewer disciplinary problems statistically, there are still questions about the suppression of students' right to expression as well as how stringent the standards for uniforms need to be. These questions are even more poignant when applied to a college setting. There are many disadvantages of requiring school uniforms for college.

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Cultural Suppression

College can be an opportunity to experience a wealth of different cultures and customs thanks to the diverse international student body that many colleges offer. Since wardrobe does play a significant role in cultural expression, uniforms serve as a homogenising presence that disallows students from properly expressing themselves in ways inherent to their native society. Some uniforms policies include hair requirements that further restrict cultural expression.

Added Expense

College is expensive, and while uniforms don't have to be pricey, they add to an already crowded list of expenses for college students that include textbooks, school supplies and food on top of tuition and living expenses. If colleges are making and selling their own uniforms, they also have a monopoly on setting the price. While this may raise income for the school, it comes at the expense of the student body.


While smaller schools can enforce uniform policies fairly easily due to the relatively small number of students and the streamlined chain of command in a grade school setting, colleges may have thousands of students and each individual degree discipline can have its own offices and board of directors. Enforcing a school-wide uniform policy at a large college or university can be both costly and inefficient. As a result, it would be easier for claims of discrimination to be made if one person were disciplined for a dress code violation while someone else on campus did not receive the same treatment. Enforcing uniform standards in massive lecture halls would also take away from class time and disrupt the learning process.

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