Monday, January 31, 2005

Race and college admissions

Getting accepted by an Ivy League college is more about race than grades:

And, even as the nation's highest courts have ruled against racial and ethnic quotas, a de facto system remains in place as admissions officers strive for "balance" and the inclusion of so-called "underrepresented" populations, like blacks and Latinos.

"If you give me a Hispanic kid with a 1,350 (SATs), I can get that kid into every Ivy League college, or an African-American kid with 1,380 to 1,400,'' Shaw said. "But give me an upper-middle-class Caucasian or Asian with a 1,600, and I can't guarantee anything."

Recently, an Asian client of Shaw's from suburban Philadelphia got "wait-listed" at Yale despite a 1,600 SAT score and a 4.1 grade point average.

Shaw, a partner in the Long Island-based Ivy Success, honed his pragmatism while working in the admissions office at Penn. He recently changed his name from Hsueh to make it easier to pronounce, he said, but allows that a less Asian-sounding name may be an advantage when his young daughters reach college age.

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