Thursday, December 08, 2011

Is It Harder For Asian Americans To Get Into College?

Photo Credit: UBC Library
According to a recent Associated Press article, an increasing number of Asian Americans feel that their ethnicity may be working against them when it comes to getting accepted into their college of choice.

Although many of us in the majority culture might think being an ethnic minority makes it easier for someone to get into college, that may not be the case as often as we think.

From the USA Today:
"For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it's harder for them to gain admission to the nation's top colleges. Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges' admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination. 
The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots. Now, an unknown number of students are responding to this concern by declining to identify themselves as Asian on their applications. For those with only one Asian parent, whose names don't give away their heritage, that decision can be relatively easy. Harder are the questions that it raises: What's behind the admissions difficulties? What, exactly, is an Asian-American — and is being one a choice? 
The article continues...
Asian students have higher average SAT scores than any other group, including whites. A study by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it's 2400). Espenshade found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have an equal chance of getting into an elite college as white students with a 1410 or black students with an 1100. Top schools that don't ask about race in admissions process have very high percentages of Asian students. 
The California Institute of Technology, a private school that chooses not to consider race, is about one-third Asian. (Thirteen percent of California residents have Asian heritage.) The University of California-Berkeley, which is forbidden by state law to consider race in admissions, is more than 40 percent Asian — up from about 20 percent before the law was passed."
The ramifications of our country's checkered history as it pertains to race continues to affect us deeply today. To assume that hard working and high achieving individuals will always be given a fair shot regardless of their ethnicity might be a little naive...even in 2011.

To read the complete article please click here.

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