Specifically, an average Asian with average(ish) test scores and grades.
Through my research of colleges and universities this summer, I found that for Asians, admission into college (particularly the nation’s top colleges) is the most selective. At many of the schools these overachievers are applying to, it is better to be white than to be Asian (interestingly, it’s not the latter group that’s known for its stance against Affirmative Action).
It has become evident that colleges want diversity in its student population. The admission percentages of African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians have been on the rise in the last couple of years. The aim now is to get a good portion of each race to create a “well-rounded” student body. While this is all howdy-dandy (that’s a phrase, yes?) for the overall look of the college, it forces colleges to compare a student of one race to a student of the same race. If a school is lacking in its Native American population -which many are- a Native American applicant will look more attractive even with lower test scores than a white student. It’s one of those necessary-but-has-its-downsides type of deal.
One of the biggest downsides is the limits it has pushed many Asians to. Many of them already have amazing scores, grades, extracurriculars, and awards; they get lumped in with other Asians with similar statistics. The common stereotype has become, “Oh, they’re Asian. Of course they’re smart.” College applications don’t help to disprove that. So how can the Asian student stand out from the crowd?
Don’t check the Asian box.
If you have an ounce of non-Asian blood in you, check that one. Even if it goes against what you truly identify yourself as, do it.
Is this ethically correct? Probably (given you’re not lying). Is it right? Maybe not. But what else can you do when you have to separate yourself from the rest of the nerd pack, all academically outstanding and intent on going to Harvard? Be yourself is not the mantra to follow here, folks. Be smart.
This is what many students have resorted to, and while it shouldn’t be that way, it seems that it has to be that way. It’s like watching a Miley Cyrus performance: you know it’s wrong but for some reason, it must happen.*
I personally don’t have a choice over what box to check, unless I want to check “unknown.”
I also cannot identify with the aforementioned league of Asian geniuses. I don’t have near-perfect SAT scores, I’m not valedictorian or salutatorian of my class, and I have yet to receive any special science/engineering/math honor.
(Although I am waiting for word back from NASA about my macaroni space rocket idea.)
I can only say that for the last four years, I have worked hard. Could I have worked harder? Possibly, but then I wouldn’t have this blog or an endless amount of adorable selfies.
I am not apologizing for my race or work ethic. Instead, I am sorry for the disappointment the five colleges I’m applying to will face when they see “Asian” marked on an application and no 2100+ to accompany it. I can only hope that they will not view me as “the typical Asian” and hold “typical Asian” expectations (because I probably won’t meet them), and look at my application from a different angle, one that allows them see I am more than my numbers.
Also, to anyone reading this, understand that I am in no way attacking today’s college admission approach. Diversity is needed in colleges, not only to make a pretty brochure, but also to open students up to new experiences and people. In order for any microcosm to flourish, it must contain a mix of intelligence. I commend universities and colleges for undoing what they have done in the past and allowing for those once oppressed (and still oppressed in some ways) to be able to gain a good education. Everyone who gets into our nation’s top schools, regardless of race, deserve to be there.
We mediocre Asians will find our spot in the world somewhere. It may not be in the Ivy League but it will be a place where we will be happy pursuing what we love.
And then, when the time is right, we’ll whip out our throwing stars, imprison the inferior, and take over the world.
Until then… Happy college searching, darlings!
Your beloved blogger,
*Couldn’t think of another analogy. Forgive me.