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"Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12

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

  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 895 Member
    @OHMomof2 - do you think admissions are not based on race, ethnicity, first gen in addition to academics, ECs, essays and recs? I do and so we probably have to agree to disagree there. My point is that this applicant was compared with other Asians and not to the applicant pool at large. I'm not saying all four, but the cross admit rate for MIT and HYPS STEM is very large that not getting into any is definitely a soft quota on Asian males.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,375 Senior Member
    do you think admissions are not based on race, ethnicity, first gen in addition to academics, ECs, essays and recs?

    I think it is based on all of those, However, I am not convinced that race comes into play other than in explicit Affirmative Action.

    I know that most elite colleges try to recruit more qualified URMs (and athletes and legacies and people to fill their orchestras and newspapers and less popular academic departments and so on).
    My point is that this applicant was compared with other Asians and not to the applicant pool at large. I'm not saying all four, but the cross admit rate for MIT and HYPS STEM is very large that not getting into any is definitely a soft quota on Asian males.

    I get that you believe that, and some people would agree with you and some would disagree with you. It is a belief you hold, but there isn't definitive evidence for it. There's the Espenshade study, that's about it.

    There are several lawsuits pending too, mostly filed by Edward Blum who filed Fisher v Universty Texas and is very anti-affirmative action. He's now suing some Ivies with Asian applicants as plaintiffs, though his goal is to get rid of AA altogether, so I'm not sure he's really a big advocate for Asian students: http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/11/20/365547463/new-affirmative-action-cases-say-policies-hurt-asian-americans which refers to his site at http://harvardnotfair.org/ . In other words, he's got an agenda.

    Princeton already was investigated, and cleared: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/09/24/ocr-clears-princeton-anti-asian-discrimination-admissions -
    The reason Asian-American applicants have such a tough time getting into Princeton, OCR concluded, was that everyone has a tough time getting into Princeton.

    ----

    "The university reported to OCR that the university 'frequently accepted to the Class of 2010 applicants from Asian backgrounds with grades and test scores lower than rejected non-Asian applicants.' The university gave OCR specific examples of Asian-American applicants for the Class of 2010 whose grades and SAT scores were not near the top of the range usually seen by the university’s admissions officers, but who nonetheless were offered admission. These included an Asian-American applicant who had 'only' a 3.45 GPA in high school, but who was a nationally recognized athlete; and two other Asian-American applicants with relatively low GPAs and SAT scores who were notable for other distinctions such as community service, overcoming impoverished backgrounds and working in a family business."
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,747 Senior Member
    edited May 17
    @OHMomof2

    1. Is there any study on race and college admissions you think is better than the Espenshade study?
    2. What do you think he should have done differently? If you were conducting your own study, how would you have done a better job?
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,375 Senior Member
    1. There are really no studies that use actual admissions data, complete with applicant and accepted student info.
    2. I'd get actual admissions data from the colleges, as the DOE did with Princeton.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,747 Senior Member
    edited May 17
    @OHMomof2 2. I'd get actual admissions data from the colleges, as the DOE did with Princeton.

    Assuming you did get access to all that data, how would you analyze it? The OCR had the narrow task of seeing if Princeton's program was compliant with the convoluted rules in various Supreme Court precedents. The OCR was not tasked, with examining the broader questions of does Princeton provide an admissions advantage to URMs relative to whites and ORMs, to whites relative to ORMs, and if so, what is the magnitude of the admission boost in each case. Espenshade and the OCR were looking at entirely different questions.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 895 Member
    @OHMomof2 "The whole "SAT points higher for different racial groups" argument is traced to one single study - Espenshade - that has been discussed ad infitum here and I believe is flawed for various reasons. You can search this thread for "Espenshade" to read all of those arguments if you like."

    Espenshade put his work in a book published by Princeton which would have been careful for publishing a flawed study. The main flaw in the study is that Espenshade and his co-authors would not share the data as it was proprietary and the colleges prohibited the sharing. I agree that's a flaw as it prevented others from getting similar results. That being said, a lot of reputed authors, educators, use this study because the methodology, sample size, conclusions are valid.

    Whether I believe it is not that relevant, the important people that should read the work and adapt to it are Asians in high schools. They already know they need excellent academics and ECs, but the hope is that they will apply to only a couple of the elite schools and set reasonable expectations. And focus on recs and essays more. College advisors are already advising Asians that they will be compared with each other for the elite schools, and once guidance counselors do, the process will be better for them.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,375 Senior Member
    @roethlisburger Assuming you did get access to all that data, how would you analyze it? The OCR had the narrow task of seeing if Princeton's program was compliant with the convoluted rules in various Supreme Court precedents. The OCR was not tasked, with examining the broader questions of does Princeton provide an admissions advantage to URMs relative to whites and ORMs, to whites relative to ORMs, and if so, what is the magnitude of the admission boost in each case

    I am fairly certain the answer to the question "does Princeton provide an admissions advantage to URMs relative to whites and ORMs" is YES, they have said they do. That's what affirmative action does and why they defend it in court.

    " to whites relative to ORMs" is a different question, and would involve many complex factors that would make a study very challenging.

    Factors that can complicate the "higher-test-scores-show-racial-discrimination against Asian students" idea that many people take away from that Espenshade study: Let's say there is a tendency in the fairly recent immigrant Asian-American community to want to do a STEM major in college, because a lot of recent Asian immigrants have STEM-ey parents, that's how they got visas to work in the US in the first place, as engineers and scientists etc. A lot of these kids are not planning to major in theater or art or philosophy or whatever (and they do not pursue ECs in these areas). Is it fair that the college wants to have students in all of its liberal arts majors and that disproportionately affects these students? At a school like Caltech, this is not an issue. Everyone is doing STEM. At most good schools it's MUCH harder to get into CS or engineering or "pre-med" than it is to other majors. If Asian kids are pursuing those in greater numbers, it makes sense that this increased selectivity would also disproportionately affect them.

    In CA, there are more Asian students as a % of population than anywhere else. It's not surprising that there are so many in the UC system, AA or not. There are more since AA was dropped, and it seems to have mostly filled places of Hispanic and black students, not white ones, though I don't have those #s in front of me.

    But geographic diversity is another factor here.

    Add in all the other factors - essays, teacher/counselor recommendations, various ECs, talents, and changing institutional needs from year to year and that would make such a study very, very difficult to conduct, I'd think. But I'm not a statistician, if the schools released the info it's probably possible to draw some conclusions.

    As you probably know, they maintain their process of choosing is a trade secret of sorts and Princeton only gave the DOE what it did because it was forced to.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,375 Senior Member
    edited May 18
    @theloniusmonk The main flaw in the study is that Espenshade and his co-authors would not share the data as it was proprietary and the colleges prohibited the sharing.

    IMO the main flaw is that he couldn't look at recs, essays, ECs, and other factors that often tip the scales at these schools.

    You are maybe confusing Espenshade with the Princeton/DOE case. Princeton shared the data with the DOE but would not publicly release it.

    It was NCES data actually. And the data was very limited and is now very old.Some conclusions clearly reflect that, like that back then more men than women applied to selective colleges -that has reversed.
    ...we use data from the National Study of College Experience (NSCE), a project whose purpose is to understand the paths different students follow through higher education. Ten academically selective colleges and universities participated in the NSCE and supplied individual-level data on all persons who applied for admission in the fall of 1983 (or a nearby year), 1993, and 1997.

    The information for this analysis comes from three private research universities that represent the top tier of American higher education. These are not the only NSCE schools that give admission preferences to underrepresented minority students, athletes, or legacies, but they were able to provide complete information for all three entering cohorts in our data on whether an applicant fell into any of these groups.

    That kind of glaring weakness (for making broad claims about college admissions today) aside, Maybe read the actual study. There is fascinating stuff in there, it's a good read.

    But as far as I can discern, scores and race and athletic/legacy were all they had for all 3 colleges all 3 years. At only one college did they even have GPA and class rank for the 3 years.

    https://www.princeton.edu/~tje/files/Admission Preferences Espenshade Chung Walling Dec 2004.pdf

    The conclusion, as limited as it must be in scope, is different from the way it is characterized by opponents of AA:
    Critics of affirmative action in American higher education sometimes lose sight of the fact that elite universities give added weight to many different types of student characteristics. In this article, we examine the roles played by
    preferences for athletes and children of alumni. Based on complete data for three applicant cohorts to three of the most academically selective research universities, we show that admission bonuses for athletes and legacies rival, and sometimes even exceed, the size of preferences for underrepresented minority applicants
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,375 Senior Member
    edited May 18
    To the idea that it is possible to do a really good study on this, Espenshade wrote:
    Answering these questions is inherently difficult. One reason is that the selection process at elite private institutions is typically more nuanced and subjective than the explicit point systems formerly relied on by undergraduate admission officers at the University of Michigan and other large public universities
    https://www.princeton.edu/~tje/files/webOpportunity Cost of Admission Preferences Espenshade Chung June 2005.pdf

    It's a very difficult thing to measure, because it's so subjective and complicated. For colleges that do admit by test/gpa/some formula, it's a lot easier. But most elite schools do not.
  • AerophageAerophage Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    @missacademy2018 Hey thanks, I really appreciate the support. I was "lucky" enough to be born in a rural-suburban SC town where the history of segregation here has made it awkward to even really mention AA or Minority Status so I don't get that sentiment often unless I'm in these forums. Nevertheless, I wish you the best in your applications and future.
  • SAYSAY Registered User Posts: 815 Member
    Of course there are studies that use the actual admission data.

    http://dailybruin.com/2012/10/23/findings-by-law-professor-suggest-that-ucla-admissions-may-be-violating-prop-209/

    http://www2.law.ucla.edu/sander/Systemic/final/SanderFINAL.pdf


    These studies don't analyze the EC or essays but the data is conclusive. Being a URM is a definite advantage in admission but the Asian issue is far more complex as anyone whose kids attended a school with large number of Asians will tell you. Overall the schools probably do as well as can be expected.
  • jzducoljzducol Registered User Posts: 162 Junior Member
    edited May 23
    Lot of times we simply cannot prove or disapprove a counterfactual---we never know what would have happened if the elite colleges always used objective standards to select future leaders. Its probably true that had those standards been in place Trump, Kushner, Obama and Bushes would probably not have gone to Ivies, perhaps taken different life paths, not reaching White House... Would the country be better off if someone else were in their places? Who knows.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,060 Senior Member
    Now that would be an interesting thread! Who would be president without legacy/hooks?

    I think Trump actually started at Fordham and then transferred to Wharton. Not sure where/when/if he had some kind of hook or connection. I'm assuming he did for Wharton, but not sure.
  • SAYSAY Registered User Posts: 815 Member
    No hook was needed back then. I mean Buffet was able to get admitted to Columbia Business School with no connections with ease with a simple letter. Admission rates to the best schools were like 30-50%.
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