"Race" in College Applications FAQ & Discussion 12

52% of current K-12 students are non-white and 48% are white. At what percent of the population do non-white students have to reach before there is no longer an advantage to being a minority in college admissions?

My comment was not quoting nor directed at you @ChangeTheGame .

@SatchelSF I’m not sure I see that but I don’t know what are the wealthy suburbs of Boston. I do see that Cambridge has a much higher expenditure per student. Boston seems to be somewhere in the middle. I do know that’s definitely not the case in Philadelphia and the surrounding wealthy suburbs like Lower Merion, various Buck’s County SDs, South Jersey, etc.

The key figure is not the portion of K-12 students that are that race. A more relevant metric is whether that race is over or underrepresented at a particular college compared to the portion of K-12 students. For example, in California public schools ~54% of K-12 students are Hispanic and ~23% are White. Hispanic students have outnumbered White students for quite some time, yet Hispanic students were still treated as URMs in CA public college admissions until prop 209 because the Hispanic students were underrperensented at UCs compared to expected portion based on the large number of Hispanic HS students. Similarly a race may be considered a URM at one college, but not another. For example, Asian students are overrepresented at most HYPSM… type colleges, yet underrepresented and treated as an URM at some LACs.

@Data10 - that’s a mess. Should there even be the concept of a minority when the K-12 white population is outnumbered by minorities and steadily declining?

Fifty years ago, white students made up almost 90% of the student population, but with mass immigration it’s nearly cut in half.

“UNC-CH and Harvard cases are not about Affirmative Action” - a decent, short read.

[quote] After these court decisions (Bakke, Fisher), what remains is not affirmative action, but a policy that merely ensures that the experiences of students of color are considered alongside those of white applicants, not one that involves racial preferences or, unfortunately, comes anywhere close to addressing centuries of past oppression and ongoing racial discrimination.

A true “race-neutral” approach would remove these preferences for white students in college admissions and re-imagine how merit is assessed in college admissions.



^A better description of Harvard’s policy is that it treats Asians and non-Hispanic whites as second class citizens.

How so @roethlisburger ?

I think the point of the article, and moreso the one it links to at the UCLA Law Review, is that there is a danger that with race not considered at all, a key part of theidentity and experience of a lot of applicants will be unseen…

I go back to the idea of an applicant - let’s say Vietnamese - writing an essay that refers to his parents’ journey to the US after the war. Or about visiting the war memorial in DC - or anything that makes it clear he is Vietnamese.

Is an admissions office allowed to read that essay? If not, what is lost?

How can the goal of a race-blind society ever be achieved with race-conscious policies? Wouldn’t these policies perpetuate the divisions, the prejudices, and yes, the discrimination?

@1NJParent Well, it’s NOT a race blind society. Acknowledging that would perhaps be part of the process to changing that, rather than pretending - or wishing - the divisions, prejudices and discrimination don’t exist.

Note that there is a distinction in that this example is a case of considering race/ethnicity in context depending on its relevance, versus considering race/ethnicity by itself regardless of context and relevance.

But it is unlikely that the arguments of any side will consider this distinction, since all sides implicitly assume that race/ethnicity is considered by itself most of the time in these situations of controversy. (And they are probably correct in most cases.)

Yes, prejudices and discrimination do exist. And we’re not a race-blind society. However, shouldn’t we move toward that goal with race-neutral policies that de-emphasize the racial factor so that the younger generations wouldn’t be conscious of their races? I see many young people of different races go to school and play together, completely unaware of their races, until they apply for colleges. Their races all of sudden become factors.

No society in history has ever been race blind. And I am fairly certain that none ever will be.

The real question for a multi-ethnic society is how best to nudge it towards one that is as “fair” as possible to all its members. Just a hunch, but constantly setting up a paradigm of victims and oppressors is probably not the way to get there.

Many people against affirmative affirmative action are also against legacy and other hooks. That is irrelevant anyway. The lawsuit is about the use of race. That is the variable that should be isolated.

I’m not sure that this is a common case or that this is a race-specific issue.

False negatives aren’t surprising. Using more objective metrics tends to lower the false positive rate while increasing the false negative rate.

I wouldn’t characterize it as the public schools ‘failing them’. There are many factors that lead to academic failure. School quality is one of them but I would argue that mindset and work ethic are more important. Place children without work ethic or the right mindset into a state of the art school and they would still fail. Example: Willie brown middle school

It’s more complex than that. Some students are fit for college. Some aren’t. The population you reference (and the one used to determine affirmative action benefits) contains many students not fit for college. The groups that are underrepresented in college are overrepresented in the “not fit for college” category.

It doesn’t make sense to admit students into college who are not fit for college. Either get them up to college level or let them choose alternative paths.

The population to draw/sample from is the population that is determined to be fit for college. As much hate as standardized testing gets, it is excellent at filtering out false positives and enforcing a minimum academic achievement bar. In this case, it can set the minimum bar for “fit for college” which would consist of reading comprehension, writing and math skills.

I don’t think those arguments are sufficient. We should do things because they’re right, not because they’re popular with everyone at the moment.

Several states seceded from the US when they felt the federal government was discriminating against them. Should the effort to end slavery not have been made because “a lot of people” disagreed with it, felt it was unfair to them and their way of life, their economic survival? Did their perception of discrimination stop us from achieving greater racial unity?

I am not equating AA with slavery. But that argument doesn’t hold water with me.

Also, many people support AA as well as oppose it.

“Fit for college” and “admissible to elite colleges” (what seems to be the focus here) or “admissible to more selective public universities like UCs” (as suggested by the previous poster) are rather different definitions. Pretty much everyone in the latter two groups (including those at elite colleges who were admitted with “hook” characteristics) is “fit for college”.

Where “fit for college” is more likely to come into question would be for students closer to the hard minimum for CSU eligibility or automatic admission to Mississippi public universities.

Of course, those not “fit for college” immediately after high school may become “fit for college” later due to maturity and motivation.

But also note that dropout risk is not just academic. It is very common for college students to drop out because of money/affordability issues. At the other end of the scale, family money can help pull an academically marginal student through college, even if it takes 6+ years of paying tuition and other costs that many families would not be able to afford.