Race still a factor in top US college admissions

November 24, 2014 6:00 pm
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In a New York Times article on race and college admissions, Yascha Mounk exposes both the “racial balancing” at top schools like Harvard that discriminates against Asian-American applicants (as Harvard once discriminated against Jewish applicants), and the myth that “Asian-American applicants do well on tests but lack intangible qualities like originality or leadership”. On the first point, admission to schools like Harvard requires Asian-American applicants to score about 140 points higher on the SAT than white applicants. While about half of applicants to Harvard who scored exceptionally well on the SAT were Asian-American, their fraction of the incoming class is currently only 20%. On the second point, the author cites a forthcoming study by Arcidiacono et al. (2014 Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law), finding that among over 100,000 undergraduate applicants to UCLA, there was no correlation between race and extracurricular achievements (like community service, leadership and musical ability).

The author concludes that “[t]he truth is not that Asians have fewer distinguishing qualities than whites; it’s that — because of a longstanding depiction of Asians as featureless or even interchangeable — they are more likely to be perceived as lacking in individuality.”

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This post was written by Syngli