We were reading a piece in “The Economist” recently, one entitled “The model minority is losing patience,” that we figured we’d discuss a bit on the pages of our college admissions blog. And of course, the ‘model minority’ referenced in the piece is Asian Americans. We were glad “The Economist” pointed out that Indian Americans were part of this group too. Much attention has been paid of late to the discrimination that Chinese Americans and Korean Americans face in the highly selective college admissions process. Indian Americans face very similar discrimination. All of it, of course, is reprehensible. At Ivy Coach, we have been outspoken about the discrimination that Asian Americans face in the admissions process. But that doesn’t mean that Asian Americans can’t beat these colleges at their own game.
The article in “The Economist” starts off with a story about an Asian American young man, Michael Wang, who was rejected by six of the seven Ivy League colleges to which he applied. As the article states, “Michael Wang, a young Californian, came second in his class of 1,002 students; his ACT score was 36, the maximum possible; he sang at Barack Obama’s inauguration; he got third place in a national piano contest; he was in the top 150 of a national maths competition; he was in several national debating-competition finals. But when it came to his university application he faced a serious disappointment for the first time in his glittering career. He was rejected by six of the seven Ivy League colleges to which he applied.” This young man, Michael Wang, wasn’t beating these colleges at their own game by playing into Asian stereotypes. He wasn’t going to earn admission to the vast majority of the Ivies by playing the piano really well.
We firmly believe the time has come for more admissions officers at highly selective colleges throughout America to own up to the fact that they — whether unknowingly or knowingly — discriminate against Asian Americans. But, also, if 64 Asian American organizations are going to join with a student, in this case Michael Wang, to file a complaint against an Ivy League school alleging discrimination, it’s high time they begin to understand how the admissions process works — and exactly how they’re discriminated again. It seems like they just don’t get it. And this bewilders us.