Ratio over reason

Emme McLean, Managing Editor

When Asian Americans were forced into internment camps during WWII, we forgot. When hate against Asian Americans resurfaced during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we forgave. And yet, Asian Americans are still experiencing a different form of racism within the college admissions process. 

Ever since I was a child, I have had it ingrained in my head that good grades will lead to an acceptance to a prestigious university and eventually to a good life. So as soon as I could, I stacked my schedule with honors and AP courses, exhausting myself just to maintain a 4.0 average throughout high school. With this rigorous course load, I learned how to better manage my time, how to write proper essays, and how to solve complex math equations. Yet, to me, my most important accomplishment was being educated enough to finally accept my heritage (half Japanese, half Caucasian). 

So, as a high school senior, I was ecstatic to finally apply to a university and share my life experiences. Unfortunately, my joy was short-lived. In early August, my parents sat me down to discuss whether or not I should click the “Asian” box on the college common application. Recently, statistics have shown that due to an overwhelming number of qualified Asian American candidates, colleges and universities have been accepting fewer applicants of this race. According to a study by the Harvard Crimson, the top universities in the nation have seen a 94% increase in Asian- American applications however, the admit rate remains constant if not lower.

To someone who had recently learned to accept their race, this information was devastating. 

This reality was truly brought home to me when I looked up whether or not my parents were telling me the truth. Sure enough, one of the first sites that popped up was “Why The Asian American Students Lost Their Case Against Harvard”. After a quick scan of the case, I realized it was a student lawsuit against Harvard University for discrimination against Asian Americans during the admissions process. In the final ruling of the case the judge even stated that the group of Asian American students that applied to Harvard during this admissions cycle may not have had the personal qualities that Harvard was looking for compared to their white counterparts. If this corruption is happening at one of the most prestigious universities in the country, then it is no doubt a problem in universities across the nation. 

After reading this, I questioned whether all of those 2 a.m. study sessions would go to waste, simply because of something I cannot control. While I understand schools must maintain a certain ratio of diversity within their schools, there is an overwhelming majority of Caucasian students at almost every school and, yet, they do not appear to be discriminated against.

I should not be faced with having to give up part of my identity just to get into college. It is entirely unfair that colleges have started treating the admissions process more like a business arrangement than a fair evaluation of the student. If a student is more qualified than other candidates in the admissions process, then their race shouldn’t play a factor in whether they are accepted or not.

Ultimately, I chose to take the risk and checked the “Asian American” box. I still question whether I would’ve gotten into colleges I was deferred from if I hadn’t checked the box, but for now, it is out of my hands.