A Misinformed Ivy League Applicant

Misinformed Ivy Applicants, Misinformed Ivy League Applicant, Misinformed College Applicant

Michael Wang should regret statements he made to “Business Insider” if he had any hope or intention of succeeding with his complaint against Yale, Princeton, and Stanford.

There’s a piece in “Business Insider” entitled “A perfect ACT score couldn’t get this student into Yale, Princeton, or Stanford, and he says it’s because he’s Asian-American” by Abby Jackson that we figured we’d comment on. The piece focuses on Michael Wang, a student with a perfect ACT score who didn’t get into the colleges of his dreams, two Ivies and Stanford. Because of this, Wang has chosen to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. We at Ivy Coach have been quite vocal over the last several weeks about how Asians and Asian Americans do indeed face discrimination in highly selective college admissions but we also believe that Wang’s complaint against the U.S. Department of Education to be frivolous.

The piece in “Business Insider” states the following: “He [Wang] also stressed that he was not just academically driven, but also a well-rounded applicant who maximized his extracurricular activities. He competed in national speech and debate competitions and math competitions. He also plays the piano and performed in the choir that sang at President Barack Obama’s 2008 inauguration.” The regular readers of our college admissions blog are likely jumping out of their seats right now because they know that highly selective colleges don’t want well-rounded students. We’ve been saying it for a couple of decades now! Wang is marketing himself — and he likely presented himself in his application this way — as well-rounded when that is the precise opposite of what schools like Yale, Princeton, and Stanford seek.

Wang didn’t educate himself on the highly selective college admissions process. Had he read our blog, he’d know that making such a statement to “Business Insider” reflects a lack of understanding of the admissions process and it can serve as a key argument against the applicant by these three institutions should anything ever come of this complaint. But we suspect nothing will come of this complaint. Yale, Princeton, and Stanford may have very well rejected Michael Wang because the young man walks his talk of being well-rounded. And that’s not an advisable walk to take. We at Ivy Coach firmly stand with Yale, Princeton, and Stanford against the frivolous complaint of the misinformed Michael Wang.

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  • Jessica says:

    This was a great read. I didn’t get into any of the ivy league schools when I was in high school (although I didn’t have any extracurricular activities) (per se) and I cried a lot.
    I think what happened to me was that I wasn’t taking challenging courses and went easy on myself. I did get a 2080 on the SAT and a 34 on the ACT (supposedly but I never actually remember taking the test). This guy is obvv talented and took some very challenging courses during high school if I was a freind who could give him some pep talk I would tell him that he is super talented more than what I did and he’ll look back and be very proud of himself.
    God help him I feel so sorry for the guy. I hope he’s doing well at Williams College.

  • If I was Michael I would focus less on where I didn’t get in and more on getting an education–since he ended up at Williams he’s probably happier anyways being in a smaller college environment. Head to Harvard for graduate school. But not if you sue them!

  • Michael Wang says:

    Why that’s hilarious. Would I have even gotten into Williams if I read your blog? I like active civil engagement in debates, not frivolous ad hominem attacks. But to each their own. I’ll engage this debate at my levels and standards.

    • Ivy Coach says:

      It was your lawsuit against Yale, Princeton, and Stanford that was frivolous, Michael.

      • Julia T. says:

        First of all, Michael “filed a complaint with the US Department of Education”. He did not file a lawsuit. Second of all, he was a well-rounded applicant, but he did have a spike‚Äďand that was chorus. Performing on the international stage is quite a feat.

        • Ivy Coach says:


          A complaint constitutes the first step invoking the judicial process. Secondly, performing in chorus — even on the international stage — does not in itself constitute a “spike” as you call it. Nor would we consider that “quite a feat.”

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