Does being Asian hurt your chance of getting into college?

Hi, I’m currently a junior in high school and my dream universities are UCI, Boston College, and San Diego State university.
I heard that being Asian hurts your chance of getting into these colleges and many other colleges. Is that true?
I have unweighted of 3.5 gpa and 4.2 weighted gpa but people told me it’s too low for an Asian.
If so, will great essays and extracurricular raise my chance a lot?

UCI and SDSU do not use race/ethnicity in their admission review criteria.

That said, are you a CA resident? They also only use 10-11th grades for their GPA calculation.

Here is the UC GPA calculator: GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

Unless you take CC courses the UC capped weighted GPA = CSU capped weighted GPA.

Target capped weighted GPA is 4.0 + for both schools. Also GPA alone will not be the only admission factor.

On the margin it probably will hurt, especially outside CA. Nothing you can do about it. Always good to have great essays and ECs anyway.


You can only control what you can control. You have some control over your grades. You have control over how you treat other people. You have control over how hard you study. You cannot control what race you were born as.

My understanding is that public universities in California are not permitted to consider race in admissions. This should make this irrelevant at UCI and San Diego State. However, your chances may depend upon whether you are a California resident.

Generally a 3.5 unweighted GPA is significantly stronger than the average for all high school students in the USA and should get you accepted to very good universities. Whether BC will be one of them I do not know and I do not know the California schools as well.

You will need to take your budget into account when applying to universities and make sure that you apply to safeties.

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For these three, no. BC is 9% Asian.

At some schools, yes or maybe but so what - if you want to attend somewhere, you apply.

Like anyone, have reaches, targets, and safeties.

With a 3.5 UW, all three are reaches - or perhaps SDSU is a target.

Be proud of your ethnicity. If someone holds it against you, that’s their problem…you don’t want to give them your time and brains anyway.

But just make sure that you apply to at least two schools that you could afford where you’re assured of admission - like the Arizona publics.

Good luck


Going to elaborate on how SDSU and UCI admit students.

SDSU is very stats based so they will look at your CSU GPA (capped weighted), # of a-g courses completed/in-progress, your HS course rigor and grades of HS courses aligned with your intended major. No essays and no listing of EC’s. SDSU is test blind.

Special consideration is given to students who have overcome life obstacles, participated in college preparatory programs, and attend high schools within SDSU’s local admission area.

They do admit by major, do not consider alternate majors and all majors are impacted (more qualified students than spots).

UCI application review information is below. All UC’s are test blind.

  • Very important: Academic UC GPA’s, Personal Insight essay, Extracurricular activities, Rigor of secondary school record, Talent/ability, Volunteer work, Work experience
  • Important: Character/personal qualities, Class rank
  • Considered: First generation college student, Geographical residence, State residency
  • Note: Demonstrated record of academic preparation, educational engagement, talent and skills important.
  • Freshman Selection:
    UCI admits into the University first and then into the major. In the case that UCI is unable to accommodate all qualified applicants in their first-choice major, those students who indicate a valid alternate major may be offered admission in that major or Undeclared.

I think it is important to target schools the play to your strengths so if your GPA is slightly lacking, then focus on schools where non-academic factors are weighted higher.

A post was split to a new thread: California schools and non-academic factors in application review

Major or division (letters and science versus engineering versus …) can make a big difference in UC admission selectivity. Unfortunately, UC is not very transparent about how much a difference it can make in frosh admission, but what it reveals for transfer admission can be an indicator of which majors are likely to be more difficult for frosh admission: Transfers by major | University of California

CSUs admit by major, although not all of them reveal how different the admission thresholds are. SJSU is one of the more transparent ones: Impaction | Admissions

If the Asian students you know are applying for popular majors like engineering majors and CS, while the non-Asian students you know are applying for less popular majors, the results they tell you may seem race-biased even though they are actually major-biased.

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If this is indeed all there is, then Asian admissions wouldn’t have dropped massively after they went test blind.


Adding to the conversation, there’s a lot of disadvantages and advantages to any racial identity in the U.S. Some communities have better educational opportunities and accesses while others do not. I agree that you should be proud of your Asian identity! Please don’t ever feel inferior. It’s so stupid to think your scores are too lower “for an Asian.” Do what makes you happy and successful. I’m Asian with low scores “for an Asian”, and I’m so happy in college with great financial aid. DO WHAT MAKES U HAPPY!!!