Branch out from tennis, or chess club, or taekwondo, she tells them. Complaints about bias in college admissions have persisted since at least the s, when a Harvard University president tried to cap the number of Jewish students. She points to the second column. African Americans received a "bonus" of points, Lee says. Like a lot of students at Arcadia High School, Yue Liang plans to apply to University of California campuses and major in engineering — or if her mother wins that argument, pre-med.
School counselors are continually trying to dispel myths like these, she says, if only in hopes of slightly lowering the huge stress students shoulder because of their intense focus on elite schools. They are good at math and bad at writing and aspire to be doctors, engineers or bankers, according to the cliches. She sends affluent students to volunteer in poor neighborhoods. Still, anxiety over racial admissions rates is peaking as cash-crunched public universities increasingly favor high-paying out-of-state and foreign students at the expense of local applicants of every ethnicity. College admission season ignites deep anxieties for Asian American families, who spend more than any other demographic on education. For immigrant parents raised in Asia's all-or-nothing test cultures, a good education is not just a measure of success — it's a matter of survival. But there's an important part of their college applications that they can't improve as easily as an SAT score: And the Princeton study Lee refers to has been widely criticized by academics who argue that it relies too heavily on grades and test scores to draw conclusions about racial bias and that the data the study uses are too old to be relevant. That perspective has pitted them against advocates for diversity: Lee says that she usually tries to at least mention arguments in favor of diversity at her free college seminars. Asian Americans, Lee says, are penalized by 50 points — in other words, they had to do that much better to win admission. At 10 centers across the state, the academy's counselors teach countermeasures to Asian American applicants. In the San Gabriel Valley, where aspirationally named tutoring centers such as Little Harvard and Ivy League cluster within walking distance of high schools, many of them priced more cheaply than a baby-sitter, it didn't take long for some centers to respond to students' and parents' fears of being edged out of a top school because of some intangible missing quality. Last year, a rumor that Harvard University would stop accepting any more Asian American students from San Marino High School spread like a trending hashtag. Is it harder for Asians to get into college? How can this be possible? A bill that would have asked voters to consider restoring race as a factor in admissions to public California colleges and universities sparked multiple public protests and scathing editorials in Chinese newspapers. But she and many other counselors do agree on at least one thing. As Aviles puts it: At the University of Texas at Austin, an affirmative action policy that allows admissions committees to consider the race of prospective applicants has been argued all the way to the Supreme Court. But in the San Gabriel Valley's hyper-competitive ethnic Asian communities, arguments for diversity can sometimes fall on deaf ears. Those who defend "holistic" admissions policies insist that considering a broader range of variables ensures that all applicants are judged fairly. Feb 21, 2: Lee's next slide shows three columns of numbers from a Princeton University study that tried to measure how race and ethnicity affect admissions by using SAT scores as a benchmark. Avoid writing your essay about your parents' journey to America. An acceptance letter from a prestigious college is often the only acceptable return on an investment that stretches over decades.
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