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"Race" in College Admission FAQ & Discussion 10

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Replies to: "Race" in College Admission FAQ & Discussion 10

  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,471 Senior Member
    I'd like to ask a serious question, because in the midst of discussion of college admission policies there are from time to time references to "underrepresented" groups without explaining how "underrepresentation" is demonstrated.

    If a medium-size privately operated national research university takes applicants from all over the country, and indeed all over the world, but has a plurality of its applicants living within 500 miles of the university (a fairly common pattern), should the university

    a) balance "representation" by the world population of all college-age young people?

    b) balance "representation" by the national population of all college-age young people?

    c) balance "representation" by the regional population--within a specified distance from the college--of all college-age young people?

    d) balance "representation" by the world population of all college-age young people who have completed secondary education?

    e) balance "representation" by the national population of all college-age young people who have completed secondary education?

    f) balance "representation" by the regional population of all college-age young people who have completed secondary education?

    g) balance "representation" by the world population of all college-age young people who are as academically qualified--determined by that college's rules--as the least qualified admitted students from the year before?

    h) balance "representation" by the national population of all college-age young people who are as academically qualified--determined by that college's rules--as the least qualified admitted students from the year before?

    i) balance "representation" by the regional population of all college-age young people who are as academically qualified--determined by that college's rules--as the least qualified admitted students from the year before?

    j) balance "representation" by the actual group composition of that college's applicant pool that year?

    k) simply admit students based on the college's judgment of academic and personal qualifications, as long as its admission procedures admit some representatives of every major ethnic group officially recognized in the United States?

    There are quite a few possible standards here, with different possible results, and it's not usually clear to me which standard participants in the discussion are appealing to when they call one group or another "underrepresented." Underrepresented by how much? Which students actually apply to which colleges?
  • lake42kslake42ks Registered User Posts: 1,171 Member
    The longest OP I've ever seen on CC. Great job, tokenadult. It seems race would disappear from application forms soon, or at least becomes meaningless.
  • ginomaglaqueginomaglaque Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    how do i post on here?
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,471 Senior Member
    how do i post on here?

    I see you are new to College Confidential. Welcome aboard. If you want to post a reply to this thread, you can do what you did, and post a reply with some follow-up question you have. If you want to post a new thread to ask a question on a different topic, you go to the main page of the appropriate forum, and look for the link (it looks like a button, just above the list of thread headings) to post a "New Thread." Choose a meaningful title for the thread that helps readers know what the thread is about, and ask away.

    I hope this helps. Please ask follow-up questions as needed.
  • BlueWormBlueWorm Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    A repeat of my post in thread 9:
    It’s the summer before my freshman year in college, so I’ve let my concerns about affirmative action/racial preferences rest for a while, but something has triggered them again. Two quotes in particular seem incredible to me, and I just want to write my reactions to them, having googled them by memory.

    First, this passage in “The Price of Admission” by Daniel Golden contains a quote from a high school counselor named Beverly Lenny, I believe.
    The link to the page with the quote is: The Price of Admission: How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way Into Elite ... - Daniel Golden - Google Books
    Please bear with the author in the following passage, as I did, although the book as a whole is slightly awkward to read, containing multiple writing errors. I also can’t endorse the author’s attitude toward Asians. I find it forced and too general.
    ““What is the most difficult group to get? K-L, the Kim-Lee group. That group is the hardest to write recommendations for…You get a group of them. Every single child has had music lessons. Every single child succeeds well in math. Every single child has done community service in a hospital. Every child has done Chinese or Korean studies on Saturdays and is fluent in that language. You’re writing the same letter again and again.“
    Lenny acknowledged that the failure of college admissions staffs and high school counselors to probe below these superficial similarities and get to know Asian American students as individuals may reflect unconscious racism. As a “white melting-pot woman,“ she said, it may be harder for her to communicate with Asian students than it would be for an Asian counselor.”
    I would just like to point out that there is something very wrong with this picture. I do not know when going to Korean school or participating in the same activities as one’s peers has been a (major? Existent?) factor in a recommendation letter.
    Did Lenny just say that she cannot probe below the superficial similarities she sees? That is, that she displays subconscious racism? Did she say that she doesn’t know her students as individuals?
    I am ignoring faults in the book as a whole and venting about this passage alone.

    A link to the news story with the second quote, "Some Asians' college strategy: Don't check 'Asian' - Yahoo! News," is near the end of the first post in this thread.
    “A college like Yale "could fill their entire freshman class twice over with qualified Asian students or white students or valedictorians," says Rosita Fernandez-Rojo, a former college admissions officer who is now director of college counseling at Rye Country Day School outside of New York City.
    But applicants are not ranked by results of a qualifications test, she says — "it's a selection process."”
    I want to get my thoughts together on this one so will not post them right now.
  • taxguytaxguy Registered User Posts: 6,629 Senior Member
    Surprisingly, I have had several questions concerning my race at various seminars that I held. My answer has always been the same: HUMAN!


    Frankly, I have always been saddened that anyone would make distinctions about this either for college admission or on Census forms. Even publishing statistics about this by colleges seems wrong.
  • IWillKillForMITIWillKillForMIT Registered User Posts: 730 Member
    I am part African and part Asian. I have an Asian last name but my paternal grandmother is purely from Ghana. The rest of my family is Asian. Would I be considered an ORM or URM???
  • terencterenc Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    ^It's how you identify yourself. You can check off whatever box you want.

    Heck, I could check off "Hispanic," even though I don't have a drop of Hispanic blood in me, and it would be completely legal (maybe not ethical, but that's for you and your own conscience to decide; the college won't ever find out unless they read your mind).
  • parkemuthparkemuth - Posts: 104 Junior Member
    I think it may time to shift the discourse from legal to scientific. The slew of books coming mostly out of Stanford but some other places too, demonstrate, scientifically, that all of us are racists. Most of us just don't know it.
    The Hidden brain is one place to start and slate has a relatively easy to read article on the way brain science can demonstrate this:

    “The Hidden Brain”: Behind your secret racism - Salon.com
    The book in question is pretty good, but there are so many others saying the same thing it is hard to rank them.
    The world of admission is far behind in knowing that this is the future. And to paraphrase William Gibson, the future is already here it is just unevenly distributed. Another book, the power of habit, cites one of the first court cases in which this form of evidence has been used. It did not work, but only by one vote. Remember scopes was a losing case for evolution.
    This is all about to change. Maybe not in a year but it is coming. Darwin's ideas were revolutionary. This particular scientific revolution is just as revolutionary but because we simply do not want to hear it, we don't. This is exactly the point that the scientists are attempting to make. We are blind to our blindness and prejudices (a few still willfully embrace them but not many).

    But this is all abstract. Here is a theoretical which may well be taken to the lab soon although the political consequences will be great.

    Students who do not identify by race are in most cases easily identifiable by race if they are Asian. A Kim, Chen or Zhao cannot hide behind a box. And having read applications for so long I can tell you that reading a name means much more than reading a box. And what is more important, the very name triggers neurons that automatically, before consciousness, forces us (yes, free will is a myth, read Sam Harris) into certain biases. We have been primed (in the scientific sense, to make fast thinking the way to go, especially when reading applications (the term is from a Nobel winner Kahneman).
    What I have just said is opaque and impenetrable perhaps to those unfamiliar with the field, but the science is there. The world will begin to catch up soon. And when it does the lawsuits will come flying. If we are biased against Asians in certain ways (and read the New York Magazine article on this phenomenon), then it does not matter if an application reader does not even know it. It happens anyway. And if this is true, then the 120 point difference in sat scores between Asians and others who get in to selective schools will no longer be attributable to a holistic reading process but to inherent bias.
    I feel like the guy in the Big Short who saw the housing crash coming. But he was in a garage in California and no one listened. I sit in Charlottesville, with a whole lot of science and a whole lot of evidence. And a mission too.
    If you want to learn more go to quora.com and search my name. There is some of what I have said here and a whole lot more. And there will be more to come there and on my blog.
    I hope that his reply raises questions. That is what quora is about and that is the way I have worked with students over the years.
  • IWillKillForMITIWillKillForMIT Registered User Posts: 730 Member
    Heck, I could check off "Hispanic," even though I don't have a drop of Hispanic blood in me, and it would be completely legal (maybe not ethical, but that's for you and your own conscience to decide; the college won't ever find out unless they read your mind).

    If my last name sounds Asian and I check Black. Will HYP think that I am lying and will they red flag me?
    Also, is it true that lying about your race will give the college the discretion of rescinding admission? I believe that if they do that, they could be sued with violating the 14th Amendment. Is this true?
  • parkemuthparkemuth - Posts: 104 Junior Member
    When you apply you also sign a statement saying all the info is true so it is not a constitutional issue. They have all they need to turn you down. Now if you could get a nobel scientist in who would swear under oath that the concept of race is a cultural construction then judge Roberts and the rest might be pleased to read your case
  • lake42kslake42ks Registered User Posts: 1,171 Member
    If my last name sounds Asian and I check Black.

    If you were 1/64 Asian with an Asian last name, what else would you do?
  • terencterenc Registered User Posts: 1,128 Senior Member
    We are talking about ethnic self-identification.

    National origin is immutable. You are either born in country X or you aren't. Similarly, race is immutable. Your ancestors were African or they weren't.

    However, ethnic self-identification is a cultural construct that is entirely up to you to determine.
  • GratisfactionGratisfaction Registered User Posts: 258 Junior Member
    However, ethnic self-identification is a cultural construct that is entirely up to you to determine.

    Absolutely. If an applicant is going to lie about this and identify with a community and ethnicity that they don't have any true personal identification with, it will bleed through on other parts of their app. Unless they really take it to extremes and join "hispanic activities" in high school, though they're a WASP or Asian (for instance), then perhaps they can sell it. But if you're going to identify yourself as Hispanic and have not a trace of appreciation for the culture, be it in your essays or activities, than you might as well not even check the box at all. AdComs will know right away and could even see you as a disingenuous person. As we all know, colleges do not like dishonest people.

    All I can say is embrace who you are. If you're lying on your app to make a longshot closer to your grasp, that one factor is probably not going to change much. Check race, don't check your race, say you're an ethnicity that you're really not. It's all legal, but do you want to be lying to yourself?


    Also, great post, tokenadult! This is an invaluable thread!
This discussion has been closed.