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08/25/2020 at 09:14PM

Why did my race impact my admissions calculations so much?

At first, I put "prefer not to say" for race, then hit calculate for a bunch of colleges I was looking to get into. Let's call the target college I was most interested in, College of X. It said my chances were about 80-85%: my SAT was 'strong,' my GPA and extracurriculars were excellent.

The next day, I updated my profile with my race. "Asian." The calculations changed dramatically. College of X was now labeled as "long reach" and my admissions chances were now around 9%...yet the subcategory gradings were still the same: my SAT was still strong, and my GPA and extracurriculars were still excellent. Yet my overall chances were now "long reach." I was obviously taken aback, and went back to my profile to change my race back to "prefer not to say" and the calculations went back to target, around 80-85% chance of admissions. So then I went back and changed it to "Asian," and it switched to long reach again...

Does my race really have THAT big of a negative affect on my admissions into College of X/college in general? Because without putting Asian, I had a pretty good chance of getting in, and with my race, I was virtually not going to get in?!

@aforsy505908/25/2020 at 11:17PM

Mine was virtually the opposite. Putting my race as african american made most of my target schools safety schools. According to collegevine, it compares your stats with the demographics of your region and race.

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3 answers

08/25/2020 at 10:58PM

When applying to top/elite colleges being Asian is the least advantageous race category because of decades-old affirmative action policies by the Boards of these colleges. Although logically in a meritocratic admissions practice this would not make sense, at America most top/elite colleges make it much easier for persons of color namely African Americans and Hispanic/LatinX applicants to gain admission. Like yourself, I played around with race on my colleges and it had the most drastic effect on Long Reaches and Reaches, less on Targets or Hard Targets, and hardly any impact on Safety Schools. My Top 20 schools went from 40-49% to 4-9% by changing the race from Hispanic to Asian so your observations are correct and unfortunately, there is nothing to do about it except the following things. 1.) take more APs classes and get 5s, 2.) score higher on ACT/SAT and Subject tests, 3.) Have more top tier ECs, and lastly, 4.) improve your GPA. That will not bring you back up to 80-85% but you can play around with the chancing profile and see what areas will increase your percentages the most. Best of luck.

08/25/2020 at 10:22PM

So the reason for this is affirmative action. Yes race is a big factor in college admissions. You'll be competing with other asians who all typically have strong tests scores,gpa, and ECs rather than all applicants. Underrepresented minorities like blacks and latinos however typically aren't as competitive for these schools, so it is easier to get in for them. Yes this is unfair and that's why there's a lot of debate around affirmative action. There's was actually a law suit against Yale recently in the news. Most schools try to limit the amount of asians that get in (expect Caltech lol) to create a balanced community. But this has it's benefits and negatives.

@DebaterMAX08/25/2020 at 10:30PM

Agreed it has to do with diversity on campus and large numbers of Asians apply making it A more selective and B: more academically talented

@Collegedude08/25/2020 at 10:40PM

Yes I agree with this. To clarify, you compete with people of the same race. And typically asians and whites are more competitive than blacks and latinos. Its not that your chances automatically increase cause your black or latino

08/25/2020 at 09:52PM[edited]

So the prefer not say that isn’t really impactful becuase depending on your name it is fairly easy to tell your nationality. As for your chancing that was 9% I’d have to know what school you are talking about to give a full explanation but typically everything is evaluated in context. ie a 1570 SAT for a latinx is good/great at Cal Tech/Stanford while a 1570 SAT for a white or Asian is fairly average so the schools are looking to take the best in your demographics.

I will say that the race factor in collegevines Algorithm is wonky at an elite school I (white male) went from 15% to 80% if I indicated myself as black at an elite school. Typically I’d halve the increase so I’d have 45-50%. Again that’s a guess.

I will say in reality your chances are likely higher than 10% but it also depends on what nationality you are as Mongolian is vastly different than Chinese.

Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!


[🎤 AUTHOR]@annierz2708/25/2020 at 10:01PM

Thank you for the answer.

To clarify, I was talking about UVA. Schools similar to UVA are the type I am working to get into. (like U of Michigan is similar.)

Also, my last name is "asian." You said Mongolian is different from Chinese- that's complicated in my case because I'm multiple 'types' of asian. But my last name would only indicate one type...aghhhhh I am seriously doubting my chances at UVA now...

@DebaterMAX08/25/2020 at 10:07PM

It seems you are a American citizen if not disregard this. You can write an essay about stereotyped as another Asian culture ie potray yourself as a Mongolian even if your half mongol and half Chinese. That can be possible but your surname may screw that up if it’s the Chinese version of Johnson. Also you can specify that your multi racial Asian in the additional info section. But think about how you potray yourself and go from there but yes collegevines algorithm is not fully accurate.

@DebaterMAX08/25/2020 at 10:08PM

Also would you consider accepting an answer whether mine or another poster. If not np

@Lebron08/25/2020 at 10:26PM

Just a note, most colleges don't look much into what specific country your from. So being mongolian vs chinese won't make much of a difference in the eyes of the admissions officers. Also I wouldn't recommend writing about being asains as those essays are way to common and often not as effective.

@Brooklynboia08/25/2020 at 10:34PM

I agree with @Pewdiepie. I actually spoke with a former admissions officers are NYU on this topic and they actually don't really care what specific race you are. They just see that your white, black, asian etc and see if you are an underrepresented minority or not. And yes essays about racial identity are really common so I'd stay away from it unless it's really important to you.

@DebaterMAX08/25/2020 at 11:32PM

By that I meant the diversity of a Asian as mongol and Chinese are both Asian groups but for diversity they would be different. Also by essay it is fairly cliche topic but if the essay itself is unique it’s good as only the topic is cliche. So it’s possible to write an identity essay and if your an Asian minority that is fairly unique and highlights you but yes if your a common Asian group I’d heavily protest an ethnic essay.

@Lebron08/25/2020 at 11:52PM

Actually being Chinese vs Mongolian really does not make much of a difference. They jsut see category you fall into and go from there. Once they see your asian, they compare you to all the other asians. If you look at the diversity percentages that schools report they only account for the main categories cause that's all they really care about.

@Lebron08/25/2020 at 11:57PM

US News and other organizations that determine rankings for colleges just look at the ratio or white to asian to black to latino to... They don't look into how many people are from certain backgrounds of Asian or latino. They jsut care about that ratio so their ranking goes up

@DebaterMAX08/25/2020 at 11:57PM

The colleges themselves lack to brag about nationality etc and rankings so US News ranking is not the only thing colleges care about

@cp83908/26/2020 at 01:32PM

Yes, but if the person is Asian-American, their nationality is American.

@DebaterMAX08/26/2020 at 03:44PM

uh @cp839 I meant ethnic background not nationality. My bad!