Leaving us in the cold in the name of diversity

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 February, 2012, 12:00am


As a junior at an American boarding school, I can easily understand the pressures of applying for university. It is a crucial year for me: it's 'prime time' to get ready for my college applications.

But something is working against my success. Not my grades or my not-yet-released SAT scores. It's something far more basic and simple: my ethnicity.

Asian-Americans make up less than 5 per cent of the US population, yet top private universities boast a large number of Asians - often accounting for 20 per cent of the student population.

And Asians would constitute an even larger number if they weren't often filtered out during unfair admission processes.

Universities often seek to diversify their student body, so they have special quotas for students of different ethnic backgrounds.

Yet by doing so, they are discriminating against Asians, whose grades and SAT scores are higher on average than those of any other ethnic group in the United States.

Asians also tend to get better grades in classes and take a higher number of advanced placement courses.

Yet as universities want to diversify their student body, they often need to lower admission requirements for certain ethnic groups that tend to do worse than Asians. This means Asian students need to do much better overall than other, non-Asian applicants to get in.

If anyone needs proof, they should look no further than University of California schools, which have enacted new race-blind admission procedures. As a result, Asian-Americans make up more than 40 per cent of the student population in some schools.

The imbalance between these schools and others in terms of the number of Asian students indicates that some universities set higher standards for Asian-American applicants than for black, Hispanic or Caucasian applicants.

While diversity is a good thing, admitting a non-Asian student with subpar scores and grades over a high-performing Asian-American applicant is unfair. It's a simple denial of basic civil rights.

What such establishments in fact do is profile and discriminate.