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The factor of race in college admission

Julie Yoo Bin Lee, Editor-in-Chief

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With college application deadlines just around the corner, seniors are desperately requesting letters of recommendations, taking their last standardized exams, and writing their personal statements. Despite high test scores, AP classes, and heavy involvement in extracurricular activities, some students continue to be rejected by their dream schools.  This is because there is one factor that plays heavily into college admissions in which students have no control over – race.  

Austin Jia, a sophomore at Duke University, has recently encountered affirmative action policies affecting him. In the fall of 2015, Jia applied to many Ivy Leagues and top universities, but ended up getting rejected from many, including Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, and University of Pennsylvania. However, the most disappointing news, Jia said, was when classmates with lower scores lower than his were admitted to those Ivy League institutions. To top it off, they were also not Asian-American, but either black or Latino. “My gut reaction was that I was super disillusioned by how the whole system was set up,” Jia said.

Affirmative action policies still play a major role in the college application evaluation process, and many people are taking a stand, including President Trump. According to a document obtained by The New York Times, the Trump administration plans to sue universities utilizing affirmative action admission policies because white applicants are being discriminated. Trump’s plan is believed to target universities that give disadvantaged black and Latino students a higher chance of being accepted, even if there are students of different ethnic backgrounds that have better stats. Although many colleges claim that affirmative action admission policies help to diversify their campus, the reality creates unfair conditions for the rest of the population.  Race should not be a factor in college admissions, and we should do something about it.

Affirmative action, the favoring of disadvantaged groups in society, has been banned in eight states already, including California, Florida, and Oklahoma. Universities in these states have tried to increase diversity by accepting more community college transfer students, examining applicants’ socioeconomic class, and offering more financial aid. However, many universities outside of these states are being accused of affirmative action admission policies, and many feel that they should be banned as well. Although Trump’s administration is focusing on the discrimination of white applicants due to affirmative action, Asian-American applicants seem to be the next most affected group.

Senior Vishal Vinodh voiced his opinion on the topic. “A person’s race shouldn’t be included into their acceptance. I believe that other compelling factors, including socio-economic background and their ability to succeed in the campus, are of greater importance. A student should not be chosen over someone else because of the color of their skin when the other student is a better candidate.” On the other hand, ASB President Steven Pineda, states, “I believe race should be a factor in evaluating a student’s college application. Aside from solely looking at a student’s racial background, many minority applicants face economic barriers that do not allow them to obtain certain resources to succeed. Bringing in students from different socioeconomic backgrounds strengthen campus life while accomplishing the goal of diversification.”

The topic continues to be widely debated. Regardless, students like Austin Jia, who have experienced affirmative action policies have been taking action. Jia contributed to the lawsuit accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-American applicants in favor of other races.


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The student news site of University High in Los Angeles, California
The factor of race in college admission