8 months ago
Admissions Advice

Does ethnicity really impact college admissions as much as the chancing engine shows?

I have always known that there is some influence of ethnicity but I didn’t know it was this much. I am half Caucasian and half Latino but I look very Caucasian. At first I put white in the chancing engine and my chances at top schools were regularly low. I expected this because they are very describe but then when I put mixed ethnicity (something like that) it went up a bit. I also tried Latino and my chances to get into Harvard shot up to 30- 44%. This shocked me as I did not know how much it really changed things.

So what I’m asking is whether these predictions would be accurate and how universities would see my ethnicity.

(I don’t know if this is a factor you would need but I was already pretty competitive for good schools and taking a lot of rigorous classes with ECs.)


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
8 months ago[edited]

Someone asked a similar question last week so here is my answer.

The reality of college admissions is that most colleges have some affirmative action guidelines whether literal or implied.

This is used to equalize the advantages that average Caucasians and Asians have in their resources, academic repertoire, and testing results over other groups that tend to be marginalized due to the color of their skin or race. For example across all types of standardized testing, SAT, ACT, APs, State Testing, Blacks and Hispanics score lower on these tests across the board because of the zip codes and other factors that influence their test preparation. Blacks and Hispanics typically live in lower-income zip codes with lower-resourced public schools. Growing up in these neighborhoods means you have less access to school resources like excellent teachers and materials and equipment, less technology and resources at home, and fewer opportunities to go to paid test prep services after school, hire tutors or college consultants, and have less ability to rely on your parents or other mentors to help you with projects, homework and give you overall guidance since they may have not had the benefit of a college education either. It's not a perfect system because in all the best zip codes there exists some diversity with say Black and Hispanic professional college-educated families living there, but that is not the norm. Therefore if you are part of a population deemed marginalized like Black, LatinX, Indigenous, or other BIPOC groups, you typically have lower grades, less impressive ECs, and less able to perform a lot of volunteering or community service if you are also responsible for domestic chores or expected to work to help provide for the family.

For those high school students who think that college admissions should be based solely on merit, this may be frustrating or unfair. But all the best colleges in America adopt this system to give a hand up to those who didn't have dozens of people helping them along the way. Had they been born a different race or had been part of different socio-economic status, they would have had a better academic record and admissions file. This is why there is a disparity between White and Asian admits to the Top25 schools versus Blacks and Hispanics. In 2021, if you are Asian, it's ingrained in your DNA that you need a 1500 SAT score, preferably 1550. But if you are Black or Hispanic, getting 1350-1400 may be equally challenging. When you look at youtube college acceptance videos with stats, you will see that AA is well in play at all the Elite and Ivys, and creating this artificial equalized diversity is a utopian ideal and they are all rich enough institutions to take the heat and flack for doing it their own way as they see fit. This is DEI work in motion by mostly private institutions. The way public schools are doing it is by getting rid of standardized testing altogether.

My advice is that if you are at least 1/4 BIPOC either Black, Indigenous, or Hispanic/LatinX, Asian, East Asian, Swana (the updated term for Middle Eastern) you should make the most of your ethnic heritage when applying to colleges. The caveat is that if you are at least 50% Caucasian, with the balance Asian, it might be better for you to use Caucasian since Asians have the highest GPAs and Test Score aerages when applying to the best colleges.

Hope that is helpful to you.

8 months ago


While ethnicity does weigh into the official college admissions process, I am not too sure that the Collegevine chancing calculator is very accurate in this area of the application.

Obviously, I am still in high school and have not experienced the admissions process, but I just think that there is too much of a difference in the chances for each ethnicity in the chancing calculator. Personally, I do not list my ethnicity. Whether this may be a good or bad idea, I want to know my chances based on factors I can control, not those that I cannot. This can then give me a reasonable to-do list of what I need to work on. If the calculator lowers my chances because I am Caucasian, I cannot do anything about that.

That's really my only advice: focus on factors you can control.

I hope this answered your question. :)


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