Posted on June 25, 2018

Shine a Bright Light on Admissions at Harvard and Other Elite Colleges: Release Average Test Scores by Race

Robert Maranto, New York Daily News, June 21, 2018


{snip} While whites claim victim status, Asian Americans actually pay a price. As the New York Times reported last week, rejected applicants suing Harvard uncovered data showing that if grades and standardized test scores alone determined admissions, the percentage of Asians in an incoming class would more than double, from 19% to 43%.

Most nefariously, while alumni interviewers scored Asians as equaling white applicants on intangible “personal” qualities, college administrators systemically lowered those Asians’ scores.

This fits with previous findings. As Scott Jaschik reports in Inside Higher Education, 1990s data indicated that Asian applicants needed to score 140 points higher than whites on the then-1600 point SAT to have the same chance of admission at elite universities. Later research in Social Science Quarterly found that ending affirmative action at top colleges would decrease African-American and Hispanic enrollments and increase the percentage of Asian-Americans from 23.7% to 31.5%.

Similarly, as Jeannie Suk Gersen writes in The New Yorker, counselors advise Asian-Americans applying to elite colleges to show that they are “not like other Asians,” who allegedly study too hard. {snip}

These hidden admissions practices help explain why Harvard has stonewalled U.S. Department of Justice inquiries into how race affects admissions.


{snip} Though less important than ideological diversity (which many universities actually oppose), ethnic diversity can enhance education: {snip}

Unfortunately, elite universities typically use affirmative action and other non-merit admissions for politics, not learning. Differential admissions open doors for the children of (mainly white) rich alumni who provide donations, for athletes who win games, and for African-Americans and Hispanics who offer political inoculation against charges of racism. In the mix of what top colleges value, Asian Americans bring nothing to the table other than scholarly merit, often lacking the money of rich whites and the politically correct labels of other minorities.


Way back in 1972, in “Black Education: Myths and Tragedies,” Thomas Sowell documented that the average black Cornell student scored a very respectable 75th percentile on the SAT, while white peers neared the 99th percentile. This academic mismatch led African Americans to self-segregate in easy majors; some flunked out.


What the U.S. Department of Education can and should do is require transparency, making colleges like Harvard publically defend their admissions practices. By forcing colleges getting federal funds to report the mean standardized test scores of admitted applicants by race, parents and students can see whether minorities of all kinds get a fair shot, get kept out, or get set up to fail.