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Wahína MonteroRacial and Ethnic PoliticsProfessor AngeloDecember 10th, 2017How Does Race Affect Asian-American Admission Into Ivy League Colleges?Building a diverse class of stellar high performing students is what every educational institution strives for. Schools want to build diversity among their campuses, but diversity comes in many shapes and forms; socio-economic, geographical and gender being just a few of them. However, often race and ethnicity come into play when making admission decisions at private and highly selective institutions such as Ivy League universities. If the intent is diversity and academic excellence, why are admission officer denying admission to Asian-American students based on their race when applying to these schools? Why is the US higher education system not looking beyond test scores and considering students – especially Asian-Americans – as whole individuals when making these decisions? It is only fair if a qualified student score better than the others on the SAT, that student should be preferred over the competition – whatever race or ethnicity they may be. Though we let ourselves get carried away by stereotypes constructed by society about this “model minority” (term used to imply all Asians are hard working, financially well off and high-achievers), admission officers should take into consideration the benefits of an increase in admission of Asians into their universities as well as doing a better job at selecting their students based on merit only.First and foremost we must understand the process colleges go through when choosing incoming students, the approach they use is called holistic admission. According to the CollegeBoard, many small, selective colleges pay greater attention to personal essays, teacher recommendations, leadership experiences and individual talents of applicants. Whereas, large, public state university systems often use a mathematical formula based on a student’s grade point average (GPA) and scores on the SAT or ACT. They tend to favor in-state applicants. Regardless of the college’s evaluation system, students should present a well-rounded picture of their skills, experience, and personal traits. Applicants should highlight the abilities they possess that will make them successful at each particular institution and what they can contribute to the student life on campus.In order to understand the complexity of this issue, the struggle behind admissions decision making, and the “subconscious” racism towards Asian-Americans here is a scenario: CollegeBoard suggests that admission acceptance is a multi-factor process that is primarily based on academics, leadership roles, and extracurricular activities. What happens when they encounter a case such as the following? Student A is White, a promising football player, class president, #4 in his class and scores 1500 on his SAT. Student B is Asian, a state mathematics competitor, excellent pianist and the school band leader, #1 in his class and scores 1700 on his SAT. Regardless of race, admission officers will opt for student A, rather than student B. Being that Student A better demonstrates leadership skills and is also considered a “well-rounded-American.” We have to take into consideration that this weighing is decided by a white-dominated cultural majority and that this concept of “well-rounded” with no doubt favors one culture over the other. Due to their culture and values, we are more prone to see more Asians with the qualities of Student B, thus they have a greater disadvantage in the admission process. To support this idea I found a study was conducted and researchers found that, “when compared to members of non-athletic extracurricular groups, high-commitment athletes experienced more obstacles in academic performance, specifically being taken seriously by professors and earning good grades” (Aries et al. 2004). Asian-American students are facing an unfair and biased admissions requirements that prefer “diversity” over academic excellence.All these elite universities strongly deny the existence of any sort of racial discrimination against Asians in the admissions process, with senior administrators instead claiming that the potential of each student is individually evaluated via a “holistic process” (Unz 2012). But, if the characteristics and qualities of Asian-Americans cannot account for their low admission rates, the remaining possible explanation lies in the procedural characteristics of the college admissions process; these universities give special consideration to several groups, which generally fall into four categories: ethnic minorities “targeted” for affirmative action purposes (Blacks and Hispanics), athletes, geographic preferences, and legacies of alumni (Allen 2017).Based on research conducted by concurrent AEI scholar and professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, Mark J. Perry; in the 2016 school year, US medical school Black applicants, with an average GPA of 3.40 to 3.59, and an average MCAT score of 27 to 29, were almost 4 times more likely to be admitted to medical school than Asians (81.2% vs. 20.6%). Likewise, when comparing  Hispanic and Asian applicants, Hispanics (59.5%) were almost three times more likely to be accepted than Asians (20.6%) and twice as likely as Whites (29.0%). Overall, Black (81.2%) and Hispanic (59.5%) applicants with average GPAs and MCAT scores were accepted into US medical schools for the 2015-2016 academic year at much higher rates than the average acceptance rate for any other student in that applicant pool.  “The idea of discriminating against Asians in order to make room for other minorities doesn’t seem right as a matter of principle.” asserts  Harvard professor of law, Alan Dershowitz. The significant low acceptance rate of Asians into elite schools raises important questions about affirmative action. In contrast to the rest of the country and in the midst of a national debate over affirmative action, the state of California is leading the rush to roll back the program — California banned discrimination via affirmative action during a 1996 referendum on affirmative action—, and it exhibits much higher percentages of Asian American enrollment, with 34.8% at the University of California, Los Angeles; 32.4% at U.C. Berkeley; and 42.5% at the California Institute of Technology – a significant increase for the institute where Asians made up just 25% of total enrollment in 1992 (Paulson 2017).”The Myth of American Meritocracy”, an article published in 2012 by writer Ron Unz offers evidence of anti-Asian bias while at the same time arguing against affirmative action. He suggests that Asians fear to check the “Asian” box on an admissions application because it may lead to their rejection. Studies have documented a large gap between the average test scores of whites and Asians successfully admitted to elite universities, Princeton sociologist Thomas J. Espenshade has demonstrated that among undergraduates at highly selective schools such as Ivy Leagues, White students have mean scores 310 points higher on the 1600 SAT scale than their Black classmates, but Asians average 140 points above their fellow White students. Clearly, Asian-Americans academically outperform other students yet, they seem to have the lowest acceptance rates among any other racial groups. The Asian-American Coalition for Education (AACE) has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth. They claim they are being evaluated holistically, as part of an effort to build a diverse class, therefore these institutions demand higher qualifications from Asian students than from any other race. They are implementing unofficial “racial quotas and caps, maintained by racially differentiated standards for admissions that severely burden Asian-American applicants and they are also using racial classifications to engage in the same brand of invidious discrimination against Asian-Americans that they formerly used to limit the number of Jewish students in its student body” (Reynolds 2017).But what do the numbers say? In his article, Rob Wile reported that the statistics on Asian-American students at Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, and Harvard from the class of 2000 and the class of 2019 show that a higher percentage of entering freshmen are Asian-American today than two decades ago. At Harvard, the class of 2000 was 16.4% Asian-American; for the class of 2019, it was 21.1%. At Yale, during the same period, the percentage of Asian-Americans in the entering class jumped from 17.2% to 21.9%. At Brown, the percentage climbed from 15% to 20%, and at Dartmouth, Asian-Americans gained an entire tenth of the class, from 9.9% to 19%. However, these figures do not take into account the growing population of college-age Asian-Americans, which has doubled over the last 20 years. Since Ivy League Schools are private schools they do not provide us enrollment data on how many Asian-American applicants actually get accepted into their schools in comparison with the number that applied.In conclusion, I suggest that the moment American society embraces that fact that people are people, regardless of race,  and it should not matter if the applicant is Asian, Black, Latino or Martian they deserve college admission based on merit only, that is when we will make America great again. The current process is wrong and short-sighted, so if we want to see a future where we lead with quality in higher education, science, and technology, banking, and finance these admission policies need to change.BibliographyAllen, Walter R., et al. “Knocking at Freedom’s Door: Race, Equity and Affirmative Action in U.S. Higher Education” Journal of Public Health Policy, Vol. 23, no. 4, 1 Jan. 2002, pp. 440–452. JSTOR, JSTOR, Accessed 07 Dec 2017.Aries, E., McCarthy, D., Salovey, P. et al. Research in Higher Education (2004) 45: 577. Jean Kim “The Racial Triangulation of Asian Americans” Politics and Society, Stacey. “Asian America Needs Affirmative Action in Higher Education.” The Conversation, 15 July 2015, “Model Minority Stereotype.” UT Counseling and Mental Health Center,, Chace. “Affirmative Action Targets Asian Americans.” Capital Research Center, 1 Nov. 2017, Perry, Mark J. “Acceptance Rates at US Medical Schools in 2015 Reveal Ongoing Racial Preferences for Blacks and Hispanics.” AEI, 5 Jan. 2016,  Accessed 11 Dec. 2017.Reynolds, Glenn. “Students for Fair Admissions.” Students for Fair Admissions,, Ron. “The Myth of American Meritocracy.” The American Conservative, 28 Nov. 2012,, Rob. “Is It Really Harder for Asian-American Students to Get into Good Colleges?” Splinter, 24 May 2016,, Yi-Chen. “Admission Considerations in Higher Education Among Asian Americans.” American Psychological Association,

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