My brother told me he checked the Asian-American box to his ACT application because he wanted to appear more intelligent than what his results may have showed. He was also being a smart-alec, so who knows if it is actually true.
A recent article from Boston University’s Here and Now website claimed something different is happening with college admission applications. Asian-Americans are purposely not marking what ethnic background they belong to because of the high expectations that come along with it.
A Yale student named Jasmine Zhuang actually said she avoided checking the race box in fear she would not live up to their “Asian” expectations and not be accepted into the university.
The U.S. Department of Education is currently investigating discrimination claims against Harvard and Princeton University because of a complaint made by an Asian-American candidate who believes she was rejected from the school based on race.
This seems a bit extreme, but it makes me wonder what really goes on behind the scenes of a university admission process. All students worry about how another person interprets their qualifications on paper from time to time, but do universities really make judgments based on someone’s race as to if they are qualified to attend their school?
I’m sure the race box is only part of a standard process. Every university wants an educated, motivated and diverse student body, but Zhuang was afraid if she “checked” an ethnic box she wouldn’t have been viewed as an individual, but as part of a group with standards she may not have been able to meet.
Universities look at a lot more than just your ethnic background these days. You have to have a specific GPA, write a moving essay, receive so many recommendations and pass so many tests that it is hard to pinpoint one specific reason why you did not make it into a university or receive a specific scholarship.
I am sure we have all thought about “if only I were…” or “if only I weren’t…” I would be eligible for this scholarship, this role or this college. I mean, not all of you can apply for the “left-handed scholarship” like I can. But the point is, don’t base your individualism on a generality or a stereotype you assume people are thinking about.
Everyone is different, even if you all check the same ethnic box. Zhuang’s entry essay was all about her life as an Asian-American. I don’t think checking a box or not would have made a difference in determining if she was qualified to attend a university.
Despite my brother saying he was Asian, it didn’t make him any smarter.