Affirmative Action: Revisited

greyboi's picture

I recently wrote about this on BeliefNet

melloyello quoted an article:

"Asian Americans, though only 4 percent of the nation's population, account for nearly 20 percent of all medical students. Forty-five percent of Berkeley's freshman class, but only 12 percent of California's populace, consists of Asian-Americans. And at UT-Austin, 18 percent of the freshman class is Asian American, compared to 3 percent for the state."

" The New York Times reported (February 2, 2003) that after California's Proposition 209 ended race-based admissions, the percentage of Asian-American freshmen at Berkeley rose a full 6 percent."

My reply was : Though the "study" showed that asian enrollment increased by 6%, data collection, when it was more permissible, showed that minority enrollment in general declined by 91%. (California State Board of Education, 1998).

Minority inclusion factors are perhaps the most misunderstood aspects of the admissions process. I'm going to pull a few quotes from a book titled, "A" Is for Admisison by Michele A. Hernandez, a Phi Beta Kappa honors graduate from Darmouth College who wrote a book regarding her last four years as assistant director for admissions. She gives an detailed inside scoop as to how the Ivy Leagues pick their students and what to do to give yourself an edge. She also has a master's degree in English and comparative literature from Columbia University.

P. 189 - About Asian-American students

What about Asian-American applicants? For a school to receive federal aid, it must report the number of African-American students, Native American students, Hispanic students, and Asian-American students. However, for affirmative action purposes, only the first three groups are counted. It's not that Asian-American students are not a minority in the United States; it is just that they are not underrepresented in Ivy League applicant pools. In fact, the Ivies get many Asian-American applicants, so there is no problem with their being underrepresented, and for this very reason, they do not receive a special minority tag. Even so, at Dartmouth their acceptance rate is usually a little bit higher than the overall rate of 20 percent. From the entering class of 1996 to the class of 2000, the acceptance rate for Asian-American applicants has ranged from a high of 33.5 percent to a low of 22.4 percent."

"Thus, in theory, there is no special minority category for Asian-American students, but in practice, the Vietnamese boat child or the single-parent, low-income Korean student might well be given a break..."

P. 190 - SATs matter for Minority students, too.

"[I]t is extremely unlikely that a minority candiate with any one SAT I score below 450 or SAT II score below 400 would be admitted to an Ivy."

P. 195 - How Tip Factors and Affirmative Action Affects Admissions

"At Dartmouth, legacies (sons and daughters of a Dartmouth-educated parent) are admitted at about a 40 percent rate (from the class of 1997 to the class of 2000, the actual acceptance rate ranged from 40.8 to 46.1 percent) and their test scores and high school class rank are lower than the Darmouth class average. Recruited athletes are admitted at about a 60 percent rate, while black students are admitted at about a 50 percent rate (from the class of 1997 to the class of 2000, the acceptance rate has ranged from 40.2 to 56.4 percent), Hispanics at about a 25 percent rate (from the class of 1997 to the class of 2000, the acceptance rate has ranged from 23.6 percent to 33.5 percent), and Native American students at a rate of about 30 percent (from the class of 1997 to the class of 2000, the acceptance rate has ranged from 27.8 percent to 39.3 percent). These numbers show that minority students are not the only students given preferential treatment in the admissions process in terms of tip factors."

P. 196 - Analysis of Data

"It is true that a different selection process (not different in a procedural way, but, rather, in the way information is interpreted) is used to appraise the information provided by minority applicants, but it is wrong to suggest that nonminority applicants are placed at a compettive disadvantage. Minority applicants do not make up a large percentage of either the total number of applicants or the freshman class. At Darmouth, roughly 6 percent of all students enrolled are black, about percent are Hispanic, and about 1 to 2 percent are Native American. (By comparison, at Princeton, roughly 8 percent are black, 6 percent are Hispanic, and .5 percent are Native American.) Nearly 17 percent of the admitted freshmen are recruited athletes, and although some are minority students, these athletes are predominately white. Only 1 percent of the admitted freshmen are development cases and 7 to 8 percent are legacies."

Some of these categories overlap, but even if they didn't, that leaves at least 61 percent of the space in the freshman class that is used for nontagged applicants with no tip factors at all."

metrored's picture

Yay controversy

I don't have a whole lot of statistics to back this up other than the words of more studious friends and my own experience but I would like to add on to something that Greling kind of hinted at. Often when I see a statistics about Asian-Americans they're all grouped together as if the category weren't made up of multiple ethnicities with a whole range of class and race issues. So I'm pretty sure there are a lot of asians that are underrepresented in the college admissions process. For example, my high school had kids who were Korean, Cambodian, Philippino, laotian... but in my college, almost all the asian students I've met are Chinese or Japanese. one girl I talked to about this mentioned that people who immigrate from southeast asia are coming from poorer darker countries than they're east asian counterparts and this affects they're resources and treatment here. This definitely gives me the feeling that there are a lot of Asian students who fall through the cracks of the affirmative action process because many schools might not take specific ethnicity and class into account. This is also one of the reasons why I'm sorry to see Michigan's 20 points to go away because it was a class based 20 points as well so people of all ethnicities were eligible (yes, even white students).

Chief Lawyer for The Movement to Free Oompa Loompa Land from the Tyrannical Capitalistic Despot Willy Wonka