"Asian" in Chance Me and similar threads

Oh…I give you credit for trying. Perhaps they need to hear this message a few more times before it registers.

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And nothing so illustrates this as the path to medical school. How many kids are still being pushed into applying to elite colleges in the belief they are “feeder schools” to the top medical institutions in the country? One of my best friend’s parents have never forgiven him for not becoming a doctor.


The reason so many Asian kids apply to Ivy League schools is because there are a ton of Asian kids who are in the Top 1-2% of their graduating class and top 1% of SAT/ACT scores.

It’s probably a universal thing in American high schools where top kids apply to highly ranked, selective schools and does not apply only to Asians. This is no different than any other demographic group.

The reason why this is so prevalent in the Asian American community is because many Asian immigrants who migrated to the US came over with advanced degrees. Naturally, people with advanced degrees place an emphasis on education and genetics plays a role in potential academic ability. The combination of smart parents and prioritizing education leads to these type of outcomes.

Does anyone really think Asian parents whose kids have 1200 SAT scores and 3.2 GPAs are “pushing” their kids to apply to Harvard?

How many Top 10 students (regardless of race) consider applying to at least one prestigious college? Probably the vast majority. Except when Asians do it, we get labeled with chasing prestige or gaming the system instead of a natural outcome for being a top student.


No one’s blaming anyone for applying to whatever colleges they want to.

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There are literally several posts above about educating parents and kids that prestige in the US isnt all that important.

They are applying to prestigious schools because they are top students. Most top students think about the best schools.


I came across this thread a short while ago that has relevance to one of the topics discussed here, which is - “how do people respond to chance-me threads?”

OP said of his/her daughter (non-Asian applicant): “She is applying to all of the Ivies, Stanford, Duke, etc.”

There are 10 responses as of now - and I found it interesting no one brought up chasing prestige or asked “why all the Ivies? They’re all so different. Fit is more important than prestige”.

I know, sample size of 1 - but wondering if it provides some food for thought to us here on this thread.

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Two words: “Hispanic female”

Great example of double standards here on CC!


No one is accusing the parent of “pushing” their kid to the Ivies or “grooming them” to attend an elite school. Wonder why.


That’s because prestige isn’t that important. Why should a top student assume heavy debt in order to attend HYPMS for premed when they ca get into medical school just as easily (if not more easily) from SUNY Stonybrook?

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Fair points.
What about a top student who’s not going to take on debt (parents have enough money) and isn’t going pre-med?

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Do you really believe that most Valedictorians are thinking SUNY and not Harvard or Princeton and that this is some Asian phenomenon?

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I just posted on that thread a couple of minutes ago. The parent didn’t ask for the kid’s chances to the schools or opinion on whether to add or subtract schools to the list. The parent asked for which schools the kid could get into for free (i.e. full rides, or at least full tuition). So this parent already has safeties listed (like Alabama). In my post, I was trying to point out that many of the safety schools listed are significantly larger than most of the T15 schools that are already on the list. If the T15ish schools were what they were thinking was the right fit, then I named several other good, though not so prestigious schools, that would be likely to offer very significant merit.

If a family comes on the board and says that they have $350k to pay for college without taking any loans, has safeties already listed, and asks a very specific question, then yes, the answers are going to be different than someone who is asking for help in developing an entire list, or feedback on their list, and/or does not have the money to pay for what the NPC indicates will be the expected family contribution.


Another thread:

Non-Asian applicant again, with a reachy list.
Posters have pointed out they’re high reach and asked questions about budget and ECs but no one mentioned chasing prestige.

Sample size of 2. I guess I only just started spotting this after this thread raised the issue.

I think this reminds me of my many conversations with my friend whose parents emigrated from Taiwan. He is one of the smartest and most successful people I know and yet he finds it extremely frustrating that I don’t agree with him that he is a victim.

I agree (and I have to say I always find your posts well balanced and informative). But my point is, in similar situations “chasing prestige” or “why all the Ivies?” is often raised by posters. So that’s what stood out to me. And it wasn’t specifically your post.

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Victim of what?

Not all high achieving kids apply to elite schools. The applications to top schools disproportionately come from areas with high concentrations of high achieving students who are also seeking admission at the same schools.

These areas tend to have higher Asian populations, but as you note, the desire of families in these areas to send their kids to top schools “does not apply only to Asians.” There may be some cultural tendencies regarding what actually constitutes top school, but that these are fuzzy too.

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I think it will be interesting to see if there are trends in the chance me threads, as @DadOfJerseyGirl suspects may be happening. It’s something I will try to pay closer attention to. I have not viewed the T20 finance thread yet, but I wonder whether the posts that bring up prestige (or don’t) have certain commonalities. My hypothesis is that:

  • Students or parents who indicate they can afford the sticker price without loans are questioned less, if at all
  • If a student, and not a parent, is posting then some posters will want to know if the parent realizes that a student could go to a state flagship for $20k vs $80k or to a less prestigious private school for $40k vs $80k and whether or not the parents are okay with that differential.
  • If a student indicates that paying for grad school is likely, then people will ask/suggest whether savings from college can be applied to grad school, or whether the family can pay for all the schooling without loans.
  • If a student indicates that s/he want to go into investment banking, and the family can afford it, there are probably few posters urging a different path
  • If a student wants to go into CS, they are likely to be told that they can go to a significantly less expensive school, often getting a better CS education, and that it will not make one whit of difference to their job prospects (or it might even improve them)

I am not entirely sure that people take much issue with prestige chasing in the chance me threads. I think they take a bigger issue about budget. If a family from a low-income family with a superlative profile has the most prestigious schools on the list, people are fine with it assuming the EFC is pretty much $0 and the student has safeties. If a kid has a choice between Harvard for $0 and Alabama for $0, I doubt there would be many people promoting Alabama (unless the kid wanted to play in the NFL). I think the issue arises more when it’s Top X college at $80k vs respected private at $40-50k or a state flagship at $25-40k.

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OMG, you name it. It is like playing whack-a-mole. Everything goes into the mixing bowl: his parents for the life of deprivation and frugality they imposed on him as a child; the preppy white kids he had to compete with by taking up a sport that would disable him for the rest of his life; the fancy HYPMS university that admitted him then failed to advise him against majoring in social science (!!!) instead of business (where his true vocation really was.) Yet, when asked whether he would raise his kids any differently, he gives me a look that seems to say, “Are you kidding? Of course not.”

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Also, I think we really ought to leave “genetics” out of this conversation.