@PVmusicmom: I agree. I'm sure there are plenty of valedictorian Asian males who didn't secure acceptances from Harvard. Similarly, there are plenty of valedictorian non-Asian males who didn't secure acceptances from Harvard. My point is that, without the proper statistics, one cannot make the sweeping statement that toughyear made.
FWIW, I never stressed out about college admissions. I think parents and students who stress out about the process are approaching it in a non-productive way. That being said, I can report that, culturally speaking, Asian parents place a strong emphasis on academic achievement (perhaps a stronger emphasis than non-Asian parents might). As some of us know too well, it can help motivate the student...or stress him out. Hopefully, it's the former rather than the latter.