College Essays Ethnicity

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At the University of Texas at Austin, an affirmative action policy that allows admissions committees to consider the race of prospective applicants has been argued all the way to the Supreme Court.

(The policies were upheld by a lower court, but that court’s decision was voided by the Supreme Court.

They will study until they can’t remember how to have fun and stuff their schedules with extracurriculars.

But there’s an important part of their college applications that they can’t improve as easily as an SAT score: their ethnicity.

Still, anxiety over racial admissions rates is peaking as cash-crunched public universities increasingly favor high-paying out-of-state and foreign students at the expense of local applicants of every ethnicity.

A 2014 bill that would have asked voters to consider restoring race as a factor in admissions to public California colleges and universities sparked multiple public protests and scathing editorials in Chinese newspapers.Another court upheld the policies and another appeal is pending.)Those who defend “holistic” admissions policies insist that considering a broader range of variables ensures that all applicants are judged fairly.And the Princeton study Lee refers to has been widely criticized by academics who argue that it relies too heavily on grades and test scores to draw conclusions about racial bias and that the data the study uses are too old to be relevant.You can’t get in with these cliche applications.”:: Like a lot of students at Arcadia High School, Yue Liang plans to apply to University of California campuses and major in engineering — or if her mother wins that argument, pre-med.She excels at math, takes multiple AP courses and volunteers, as does nearly everyone she knows.In November, a group called Students for Fair Admissions filed a suit against Harvard University for admissions policies that allegedly discriminate against Asian Americans.The group cited the 2004 Princeton study and other sources that offer statistics about Asian Americans’ test performance.An acceptance letter from a prestigious college is often the only acceptable return on an investment that stretches over decades.Lee is the co-founder of HS2 Academy, a college prep business that assumes that racial bias is a fact of college admissions and counsels students accordingly.Then she eases into a potentially incendiary topic — one that many counselors like her have learned they cannot avoid.“Let’s talk about Asians,” she says.Lee’s next slide shows three columns of numbers from a Princeton University study that tried to measure how race and ethnicity affect admissions by using SAT scores as a benchmark.

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