There’s an excellent recent editorial in the pages of The Daily Pennsylvanian on how the Ivy League admissions process is structurally racist that we figured we’d shine a lantern on for our readers. The piece, authored by Urooba Abid, focuses on how Ivy League schools admit so many students from feeder schools — schools like Phillips Exeter Academy, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, The Lawrenceville School, Stuyvesant High School. It’s Abid’s argument that admitting so many students from these schools effectively caps the number of available slots for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who didn’t get to go to these high schools.
Ivy League Feeder Schools Are Mostly White and Asian
As Abid writes in her piece, “These top ‘feeder’ schools into the Ivy League are often inaccessible to students who live in high-poverty and racially segregated school districts. Many specialized high schools are predominantly white and Asian, with low numbers of Black and Hispanic students granted admission. Stuyvesant High School is the top special entry public school in New York City and sends a number of students to elite universities like Penn every year. However, the school’s student body is only 1% Black and 3% Hispanic, most likely due to its highly criticized admissions test. Meanwhile, the New York City school system is nearly 70% Black and Hispanic.”
But Ivy League Schools Draw Many Asian and Indian American Students from Schools like TJ and Stuyvesant
We don’t disagree with Abid’s assertion that by admitting so many students from elite high schools like TJ, Phillips Exeter, Lawrenceville, and Stuyvesant that Ivy League and other highly selective universities are effectively earmarking slots for students from well-heeled backgrounds — with exception to, as an example, an underrepresented minority student on scholarship at Exeter. But also keep in mind that many of the students who happen to be overrepresented minorities at these universities hail from schools like TJ and Stuyvesant. Indeed a sizable percentage of Indian American and Asian American students on Ivy League campuses count these high schools as their alma maters. So by capping the number of students deserving of admission from these schools, these institutions would risk discriminating against Indian American and Asian American applicants more than they already do in the admissions process. And we all know that Asian American and Indian American applicants already face a heck of a lot of discrimination in the highly selective college admissions process.
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