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"Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12


Replies to: "Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12

  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,729 Senior Member
    edited February 11

    My take is athletes get way too much of an advantage in college admissions. At the least, I would treat athletics as no more valuable than any number of other ECs. On development admits and legacies with a history of donations, the university needs money to run, for among other reasons keeping tuition affordable for everyone else. Some might even argue, part of the benefit of HYP, is the chance to rub shoulders with the children of the rich and powerful, and use those connections to launch a career.
  • dragonmom3dragonmom3 Registered User Posts: 286 Junior Member
    This is the reason why-- according to my kids who attended Berkeley, WUSTL Stanford and Vanderbilt--"fun" people don't want to even apply to Caltech, a purely merit based school.
    They have all made friends and connections at their respective schools who are smart, ambitious, and to be honest, more privileged than they are.
    They find it stimulating.
  • crimsonmom2019crimsonmom2019 Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member

    I would argue having athletics is a reason some development parents contribute. Lots of donations to the school when athletic programs are doing well. LOL To bring it back around, though, I'm all for race being a hook as all the other hooks. Hope we get to a point where publicly, like here on CC, they are viewed more or less equal.

    Question: has anyone been able to accurately determine when the AA hook is used vs the other hooks when a student falls in multiple categories? Is there even a way to do this?
  • crimsonmom2019crimsonmom2019 Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    @Ohiomomof2 I wish the public courts were more like CC. It would seem less hypocritical IMO. :)
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,729 Senior Member

    I think it's mainly two sports, which attract big donations, football and basketball.
  • sweatearlsweatearl Registered User Posts: 89 Junior Member

    Let me explain to yall why that's wrong: You're forgetting to account for other factors.

    A higher proportion of recruited athletes have lower scores. And a higher proportion of minorities are recruited athletes than whites.

    URMs a lot of times tend to be lower income. Test scores decrease with income.Not because lower income ppl are somehow dumber, but because the SAT is a rich man's game. Many people purchase tutors and expensive study materials for the SAT, and take it on multiple sittings. That's not something poorer people can often do, hence lower scores as you go down in income. Colleges understand this. Don't believe me? Look at QuestBridge. Their middle 50% of SAT scores for finalists are between 1280 and 1410. More than half of QB people are white or Asian. For a normal student, that would be considered almost disqualifying for any ivy league school. Yet, 60% of questbridge finalistsget into at least one partner school. Low income affects SAT scores, thats not really deniable/

    There are more factors than I said contributing to this, however the thing isn't that "URMs have lower test scores", but rather, "Athletes and Low income students have lower test scores".

    Affirmative action doesn't mean they're accepting minorites who aren't just as qualified as an Asian or white student. If that was the case, enrollment for Asians in top schools wouldn't more than quadruple their national population percentage. All it really means is if a black and a white have the same qualifications, they'll lean towards the black more. MIT's black population in the entire class of 2020 is only 62 people. They're not letting in blacks and hispanics who aren't just as qualified as whites. The discrepancy between the black acceptance rate and the asian acceptance rate at most schools (bar Harvard, which is about 6% to 12%) isn't really significant.

    And as many people said, why is there no court action about legacy admissions, which have 30% and 42% at Harvard and Yale, when there is about affirmative action? Black people aren't "taking your spots." (People salty about rejection and believe its because of their race 9/10 wouldn't have gotten in if they were a different race). No one is taking your spot, but if anything, RICH people are taking your spots. Consider that 50% of people who attend Harvard pay full price. If you people knew what a slight boost AA was compared to other boosts, maybe then there would be more nationwide discussion about other factors. But people only want to talk about AA, and there's probably a deeper reason for that to be honest.
  • mohammadmohd18mohammadmohd18 Registered User Posts: 490 Member
    edited February 12
    I've been a CC member for a little while and I've noticed a preponderance of comments about how much colleges weight race in their admissions. The typical answers are:
    • To help represent, so to speak, under-represented minorities.
    • To increase diversity on their campuses.
    • Similar responses.
    But wouldn't it be more prudent to give kids a little more preferential admission based on income? Under the current system, an African-American kid with affluent parents and who is comfortable paying in full would get an edge over a white kid with parents who both went to college, but who is lower middle-class and only has one parent in employment. Not to mention that the African-American kid has more resources to spend to up his GPA/standardized test scores while the poorer kid doesn't.

    Shouldn't kids with less money but still perform excellently be on the same level, hook-wise (for lack of a better description), as kids with more money that are URM?

    If the true goal is to increase diversity, this laudable goal should be achieved not by cherry-picking students based on their race. I'm sure there are better ways of creating a vibrant, intelligent, and varied student body.

    I am aware of the availability of organizations such as QuestBridge and other scholarships to help low-income kids. I am referring, however, to the admissions practices of the colleges themselves, and not the existence of commendable third party organizations.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,729 Senior Member
    edited February 12

    You're mixing up race and class. Even if you assume, for the sake of argument, the SAT is a rich man's game, that still begs the question of why poor whites or poor Asians or poor Hispanics shouldn't be given the same advantage as poor blacks or African Americans. People have done research on this, although it's very dated at this point, trying to control for some of those other variables you mention(impact of race, controlling for class and athlete status).
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,343 Senior Member
    Some colleges do indeed give low income students a "hook". Amherst College is one.
    When it’s time to make admission decisions, the college takes an approach that Parker characterizes as “high-need affirmative,” which means, he says, that “in an all-things-being-equal situation, we will give preference to first-generation students [meaning, the first in their families to go to college] coming from low-income backgrounds.”


    There is some tension, of course, between wanting to educate more low income students (often expressed in articles about colleges as the percentage of Pell grant recipients - higher=better) and the reality of paying for lots of low-income students with adequate financial aid.
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    edited February 13
    @oldmom4896 -
    There’s no reason that whites should have a leg up — in effect, affirmative action — on Asians at elite colleges.

    I meant to respond to this before it got moved. At many schools today, whites are underrepresented given their share of the overall population. For reference, whites make up between 50 to 55 percent of the college age population in the US. Here are the percentage of white students at various top 25 "national" private colleges:

    Chicago: 49.9%
    Penn: 49.5%
    Brown: 48.8%
    Emory: 48.7%
    Harvard: 47.5%
    USC: 46.2%
    Cornell: 45.3%
    Johns Hopkins: 44.4%
    Rice: 42.2%
    NYU: 42.1%
    Stanford: 40.9%
    MIT: 40.3%
    Columbia: 39.4%
    CalTech: 29.8%

    It is clear from the above that whites are underrepresented at these types of schools, and if there is AA given to black and Hispanic students, it is not clear to many white parents that their kids should be the one racial group to suffer for the success of Asian-Americans.

    All data is from www.collegedata.com BTW.
  • crimsonmom2019crimsonmom2019 Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    @Zinhead But then aren't we getting into the gray area of quotas? Are we saying that all schools need to match their ethnic admissions based on the percent of the college age population in the US?

    I would say it is clear from your list those schools under Cornell would be able to use that argument. But is there really that much of one if the percentage falls within 5 (especially the top 5 on your list that are within 3)?
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    @crimsonmom2019 - First, I could not find a good source for the demographic distribution of college age kids in the US. The best source I found put the 0 to 18 age group as being 54% white:


    Given that the 0-5 age group is minority white, one would expect the current college age group to be more than 54% white. If the number is indeed 54%, then most of the schools would fall within your 500 basis point confidence range.

    Secondly, it is not my argument, but it is logic of many white parents who are seeing their kids harmed by the current trends. When affirmative action was started, there were few Asians in the system, and affirmative action effectively called for whites to give up spots to blacks and then Hispanics. At a time when whites were vastly over-represented in higher eduction, this was acceptable to many whites.

    That is not the case today when Asians make up about 5 percent of the college age population, but can take up 15 to 20 percent or more of the spots at these elite schools. So we have a system that blacks and Hispanics get a boost, and the surplus number of high achieving Asians get taken out of the white student body to the point that whites are under-represented at the country's best colleges.

    It is little wonder that support for affirmative action is at a low point.


  • crimsonmom2019crimsonmom2019 Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    @Zinhead I understand the logic, just trying to get to what the solution would be and my question remains, would whites be okay saying let's have a quota based on percentage numbers and isn't that what those who are anti-AA been using as the basis of their argument? That there should be no quota?

    Additionally, I go back to a previous question of why such heat around AA and not other categories who receive a boost? Could it be that those boosts are in categories that benefit whites in particular?

    *To be clear, not arguing/debating with you in particular but the general "you" of society.*
  • dragonmom3dragonmom3 Registered User Posts: 286 Junior Member
    The "other categories" that receive a boost generally directly benefit the University (financially)
    Athletes and legacy particularly.
    It is human nature to support friends/associates and winning teams.

    It seems to me that race based affirmative action and other honors and awards based on race and national origin are a kind of patronizing racism themselves.
    Policies based on economic opportunities, on the other hand, seem more enlightened.
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    edited February 13
    @crimsonmom2019 - I don't have a good solution, just pointing out that the current system has some logical incongruities that will make it increasingly unsupportable to the general population as time goes on.

    BTW, you can flip your question by asking if the pro-AA group that relied on disparate impact theory and the equal protection clause to support AA for blacks or Hispanics will ignore those legal theories when whites are under-represented in colleges.
    Additionally, I go back to a previous question of why such heat around AA and not other categories who receive a boost? Could it be that those boosts are in categories that benefit whites in particular?

    Current admissions practices to elite schools benefit some categories of whites more than others. For a more detailed breakdown, see the following article:


    There is a well written rebuttal piece by Andrew Gelman that I cannot post here because it links to a blog, but you can search for it rather easily under the phrase "After seeing the statistics, I don’t see it."
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