Why Can't Asian Applicants Omit the Race Questions?

<p>Everyone seems to be upset that Asians are given the short end of the stick, but why can't all Asian applicants choose to omit that part of the demographics section? The CommonApp says</p>

<p>"The following items are optional. No information you provide will be used in a discriminatory manner."</p>

<p>Unless you were born in Asia (you have to indicate your place of birth), how will colleges know of your background? </p>

<p>Is there something I'm missing?
And also, what is the point of reporting your grades, class rank, and test scores on the CommonApp? Do colleges even look at this part?</p>

<p>If asians dont check the race box, colleges will think we are trying to hide something. They will judge on the basis of our names. So theyd know anyway</p>

<p>Asians can omit the race question, as can anyone else.</p>

<p>Colleges are expressly prohibited from trying to infer an applicant's race if he or she has chosen not to report it. Race is reported for statistical purposes and plays no part in the admission process if you don't report it. The above poster's claim is factually incorrect. If you declined to report your race and have reason to suspect your name and/or extracurricular activities (Asian American Club, Black History Month, etc.) were used to deduce your race in the admission process, you can and should sue.</p>

<p>Well colleges aren't SUPPOSED to discriminate applicants even if you do report it though are they? I don't see how indicating you're an asian would be different from colleges finding out about it in some other way. </p>

<p>to OP: my last name, my place of birth and my first/native language are all blatantly Asian. I did indicate my race on commonapp but I'm pretty sure it was obvious from other parts of the application.</p>

<p>Who told you that adcoms cant infer? Of course they cant and you'll have no evidence whether they do.</p>

<p>
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Well colleges aren't SUPPOSED to discriminate applicants even if you do report it though are they? I don't see how indicating you're an asian would be different from colleges finding out about it in some other way.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Incorrect. If a school's Common Data Set lists ethnicity as a factor that is 'considered' (or even 'important') in admissions, then that school has the right to consider your race in admissions. Which often translates to higher admission standards for Asians because of the loose racial quotas said school is likely to have (which is not the same as discriminating against them).</p>

<p>If you don't report your race, then that school cannot consider your race in admissions. If it tries to do it anyway, it is liable to charges.</p>

<p>When you see a table of a school's student body broken down into ethnic groups, that table uses self-reported data. It doesn't include people who chose not to report their race, regardless of whether they're called Hikaru or John.</p>

<p>@impetuous -- Colleges can legally use race for the purpose of achieving quotas for their incoming freshman class. It does amount to discrimination and it is legal. I think I can back this up with the court ruling if people are skeptical.</p>

<p>As far as a college being prohibited from inferring an applicant's race if he or she chooses not to report it, sometimes it is so obvious, as in the case with impetuous, I don't know how you keep an admissions counselor from making the inference.</p>

<p>Actually, they can't use quotas or specific formulas, but they can "consider" it on an individual basis, though it's not allowed to be a deciding factor. Though that's a stupid thing to say, since all factors together decide it, not just one.</p>

<p>You may not be able to keep the counselor from making the inference, and perhaps looking at your application with different eyes ('piano? Oh sure, that's nice, but he's Asian, I'm not that impressed'), which is quite sad and may affect you negatively in subtler ways, but the counselor DOES NOT CONSIDER you and will not consider you with the rest of the Asian applicant pool. You are in the unknown applicant pool.</p>

<p>Huh.... interesting</p>

<p>At top colleges no one factor determines one's decision though. Every application is considered in its own context and that's why I said it wouldn't be different whether an applicant stated his own race or not, if they can clearly see your background anyway.</p>

<p>
[quote]
If asians dont check the race box, colleges will think we are trying to hide something. They will judge on the basis of our names. So theyd know anyway

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Whether they can guess your race or not is irrelevant. As Ghostt said, colleges can't use guesstimates when they report race; they use self-reported data, and they can't use data that isn't provided. </p>

<p>If you don't want to provide that information, don't. If your first and/or last name is traditionally Asian, so be it; colleges can't legally use inferred information against you. I imagine, however, that most people who choose to omit the racial information are either white or Asian and that the "no race" pool is likely to be as competitive as the white and Asian ones. Your job in the application process is still to stand out in every group of which you are a part: school, community, geographic region, sex, extracurricular and academic interests, and yes, race.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Colleges can legally use race for the purpose of achieving quotas for their incoming freshman class. It does amount to discrimination and it is legal. I think I can back this up with the court ruling if people are skeptical.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>No, you can't. The court case you're referring to, and the popularly cited opinion of Justice O'Connor, determines quotas--or any numerical value assigned to race, like a point system--to be illegal, though it allows race to be used as a "tipping factor" between otherwise qualified applicants.</p>