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?!
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.
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.
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!