Last week’s Supreme Court decision striking down affirmative action was not a surprise to Theresa "Peaches" Valdes, dean of admission and financial aid at Wellesley College, she said.

Based on prior rulings, she said, she expected the decision, with a 6-3 majority ruling that colleges and universities could not consider race in admissions.

Just over half of Wellesley students on campus in the fall of 2021 identified as people of color, according to the college’s self-reported numbers. Now, Valdes and her Wellesley colleagues are looking over the 237-page decision and parsing out what it means for their student body.

“We are expecting that it will have an impact. We would be very naïve to believe that it wouldn't,” Valdes told GBH’s Morning Edition co-hosts Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel Monday.

For many officials and activists across Massachusetts, the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on affirmative action has meant outrage and frustration.

For admissions officers at colleges and universities, the ruling has meant getting to work, figuring out what's next and how to continue seeking a diverse student body.

Valdes said having a diverse student body is part of Wellesley’s value as a higher education institution.

“Living and learning on a residential campus happens 24/7,” she said. “It leaves the confines of a classroom setting, it goes into the residential halls, the dining halls, and you're constantly engaging and interacting with people from all different lived experiences and walks of life. And I think that's what's going to be changing those types of conversations that happen day-to-day for many of our students and our community members.”

For now, Valdes said, her department will continue looking at applications and reaching out to prospective students from diverse backgrounds.

"I think we actually have a rather strong foundation to begin with,” she said. “We have a commitment inclusive excellence, which focuses on the value of difference as being a positive change in the world. And so we're going to be working on that.”

Wellesley’s ultimate goal is still to build community that fosters learning, she said.

“We want our students to find their sense of belonging, to find their community,” she said.

Students who are applying to college should focus on what they can control and try to convey an accurate and holistic picture of themselves, Valdes said. That includes academics, activities, community ties and more.

“You can't control what the Supreme Court has done. You cannot control what institutions are doing. However, what students have is control over what they decide to put in their application,” Valdes said. “It's about sharing your story, sharing your narrative with an institution, sharing why you feel that you'd be a great fit.”

Though the Supreme Court ruled on cases involving Harvard and the University of North Carolina, the decision’s impacts will reach campuses across the country, Valdes said.

“This decision didn't impact just one institution,” Valdes said. “It's impacting all colleges and universities across the country. All of our landscapes will be changing. All of our communities will change. And those conversations that happen as well.”