Don’t Check Asian

22 Jan 2012 /

Asian kids are putting a different race on their college applications to boost their chances of getting into the top schools.

Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white.

That’s a rather modest strategy. Identifying yourself as white does give you a little bit of a boost but to really improve the odds, I’d advise everyone to go ahead and check the Black or Hispanic box. Or Eskimo. Eskimos are kind of Asian-looking.

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.

Here in California, state colleges and universities are prohibited by Proposition 209 from considering race in the admissions process. As a result, the student body at UC Berkeley is more than 40 percent Asian, up from about 20 percent before Prop 209 was passed in 1996. (The California population is 13 percent Asian.)

Other top schools that don’t consider race in admissions also have a high percentage of Asian students. Cal Tech is about one-third Asian. (As a private school, Cal Tech is not subject to Prop 209, but chooses not to consider race.)

Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania declined to make admissions officers available for interviews for this story.

Draw your own conclusions. We are being overrun by the yellow horde!


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