We have long argued on the pages of our college admissions blog and in the press that Asian Americans face unjust discrimination in the college admissions process. And we have been standing for years atop our soapbox in college admissions calling for change, calling for an end to Asian American discrimination in admissions. But never once did we support the path chosen by the Students for Fair Admissions group in their decision to file litigation against Harvard University for allegedly discriminating against Asian American applicants. And why? Well, for starters, we don’t believe that real change begins in America’s courts. Rather, we believe it begins with the populace in the streets.
Our Nation’s Elite Colleges Don’t Discriminate Solely Based on Race
But we also wish to make clear on this day as reporters and college admissions officers across America comment on the SFFA v. Harvard decision that we have never once asserted that Harvard — or any of America’s elite universities — discriminate against Asian American applicants based solely on their race. If they did discriminate against Asian American applicants based solely on their race, then our students at Ivy Coach, a sizable percentage of which are historically Asian American, wouldn’t so often earn admission to their dream schools. So how can we explain that our Asian American applicants so often get into their dream schools while so many Asian American applicants do not?
Our Nation’s Elite Colleges Discriminate Based on Racial Profiles
That’s easy. Asian Americans aren’t discriminated against in admissions based on their race alone. Rather, as we’ve long expressed, they are discriminated against when they present the same or similar profiles as so many other Asian American applicants. Yes, the first-chair violin playing Chinese-American mathematician is a stereotype for a reason. So too is the Indian American applicant who plays tennis and competes in debate (and if they’re female, they do classical Indian dance too!). Yes, Indian Americans face discrimination too — not solely on the basis of their race but when they present the same or similar profiles as so many other Indian American applicants.
Our Students at Ivy Coach Have Long Avoided This Discrimination
Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. We may not like them. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t true. As Malcolm Gladwell taught the world in his seminal book Blink and as he further expands on in his latest book Talking to Strangers, we have to make rapid-fire decisions to make sense of the world, to properly function. We all stereotype, even admissions officers at Ivy League schools. We are all a little bit racist, as the cast in Avenue Q sang it so beautifully. So our students at Ivy Coach choose not to present such profiles when they apply to our nation’s elite colleges, including Harvard. They present wonderfully different, unique profiles, profiles that don’t play into stereotypes. And it’s a strategy that works not only for our Asian American students. It’s a strategy that works for all of our students. In fact, it’s worked for over a quarter of a century.
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