Do Asian American applicants hoping to earn admission to our nation’s elite universities face discrimination based on their race? Our answer is a qualified yes. Asian Americans do face discrimination in highly selective college admissions — that’s without question. But they don’t face discrimination based on their race alone. Rather, they face discrimination when they present profiles that are all too similar to the profiles of other Asian American applicants. To put it simply, they face discrimination when they play into stereotypes. And, yes, we all stereotype.
Presenting Interesting, Unique Profiles in Admissions
As we are quoted in a piece out today in Yale University’s “The Politic” entitled “The Discrimination Debate: Asian Americans and Ivy League Admissions,” “‘Asian American applicants so often present similar profiles,’ [Brian] Taylor told The Politic. ‘In many instances, I would argue that this profile is a template profile. A Chinese American student who excels in math and in a string instrument and runs track—it’s a profile that college admissions officers have seen before. It doesn’t ‘wow’ them.’ Taylor says that Asian American applicants are primarily put at a disadvantage when they don’t present themselves as unique. ‘That’s true of Asian American applicants, it’s true of Caucasian applicants, African American applicants,’ he insisted. Rather than focusing on racial discrimination, Taylor advises his clients to present themselves as distinct individuals. His advice is simple: be interesting.”
We happen to agree with ourselves. How do you like that? The best advice, in our experience, often is that simple. But, of course, in highly selective college admissions, it all comes down to execution. What some people think is interesting isn’t all that interesting to admissions officers. Our Asian American students at Ivy Coach, well, they’re always interesting. It’s a big reason why they so often earn admission to their dream schools.