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It is the season of college applications and prospectice students want to attend great schools. However, as you are well aware, there is a selection process where schools determines which students will be admitted. Some believe that the system is not fair as many minorities are being discriminated while others beg to differ. For Asian-Americans, they fall under the same category.

Looking at the Numbers

As an Asian American and teacher myself, some people frequently help my students become the best possible candidate for their colleges. However, many of my Asian students are worried about their ethnicity undermining their true potential. There has been much discussion and debates about affirmative action; however, only a few impactful actions have been made. Rather than waiting for the justice system to make amends, it is time for applicants to change their portrayal. Asian-Americans make up only 5% of the U.S., but they constitute a strong percentage at almost every top-tier university. Harvard consists of 22.2% Asians, UCI 42%; or  UCSD: 46%. Seems like Asians who are the minority in the country makes up the majority in college. Though, if we take a closer look at the numbers, all ethnicities seem to have an equal chance in admission to most Universities.

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Why are Asians the majority in so many Universities?

It starts with culture. Typically, Asian-Americans who immigrate here seek better education along with job opportunities. Due to the overpopulation in China, students are fighting even harder to go to universities. China’s population is around 4 times larger than America’s. Statistically, if we had China’s population, 5 percent of Harvard’s acceptance rate just dropped to less than 1. Many see the U.S. education system as much less competitive since there are significantly fewer people. Asian parents put thousands of dollars for their children to attend academic programs such SAT boot camps or online training programs. In general, they value education to another degree.

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Affirmative Action

There are many affirmative action programs at universities, the question is: are they effective? As an Asian- American, some people believe they are. Scott Jaschik, the founder of Inside Higher ED, did a data analysis on the average test scores for each ethnicity. Results show that Asians and Caucasians scored the highest. Shouldn’t that mean tat the majority of universities should admit mostly Asians and Whites? If we take a look at top-tier schools like USC and UCB demographics, the majority of admitted students are Caucausian and Asian, which correlates with Scott’s data on average test scores. Colleges all say that ethnicity does not impact their decision, and many people dispute that. However, when looking at the numbers and statistics, the correlation is that higher test scores means more acceptance. In other words, Asian and Caucasians have the highest test scores; therefore, they are the majority of people being admitted.

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At the end of the day, a school will accept you and students will usually make the best out of that experience. Your undergraduate degree is an important step in your life but it is not the key deciding factor. What makes you is all your experiences combined into one.


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Andy Xiang


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