Virginia public colleges make Asian Americans work harder to get in, study finds | The College Fix (2023)

Virginia public colleges make Asian Americans work harder to get in, study finds | The College Fix (1)

Black-white SAT gaps are most stark at UVA and William & Mary

Whites get more admissions preferences than Asian Americans at five public colleges in Virginia, but the two most selective schools give large preferences to blacks over both groups, according to a new study by the Center for Equal Opportunity.

The breadth of racial preferences at the University of Virginia and College of William & Mary stood out from George Mason University, Virginia Tech and James Madison University, which have comparatively small differences in preferences, the report concluded.

The center, which portrays itself as “the nation’s only conservative think tank devoted to issues of race and ethnicity,” analyzed admissions data it obtained from the five schools under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act.

It said it has previously obtained FOIA data from Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin, Colorado and California public colleges. But the report faults colleges and universities in general for making it difficult, “or in some cases impossible, for outsiders to obtain” their admissions data and verify how their preferences work.

While the report does not describe the racial discrepancies as “discrimination,” an email from President Roger Clegg says the admissions data reveal “a significant amount of discrimination,” especially at UVA and W&M, the most selective of the five.

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“Virginia’s public universities are perhaps the country’s most selective among those still allowed to use racial and ethnic preferences,” he wrote in an email blast. Yet “perhaps the most salient finding” is the uniform discrimination against Asian Americans in test scores by all five. (Differences in GPA medians, by contrast, are negligible across racial groups.)

The colleges are disputing the portrayal by the center, saying they use “holistic” admissions as permitted by the Supreme Court. But none commented specifically on the report’s findings for their own school.

UVA, W&M, JMU and GMU all told The College Fix that test scores do not capture the full picture of their admissions process. (Virginia Tech did not respond.) The first two, the most selective, contended that racial considerations are crucial when diversifying the student makeup of elite public institutions like theirs.

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Bill Wyatt, director of communication for JMU, took issue with the methodology of the report. After JMU provided the data in February, the center “did not bother to ask any questions about our admissions process,” he told The Fix.

‘Large odds ratios’ in favor of black students over white students

Over four decades, the Supreme Court has steadily narrowed the grounds for affirmative action while expressing reluctance to dig too much into any given college’s use of holistic admissions.

The last major ruling, in 2016, upheld admissions practices at the University of Texas. The majority opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has since retired, said that courts owe “[c]onsiderable deference” to universities as they seek to create diverse student bodies.

But he cautioned that “there is no dispute” that race must play a minimal role in holistic review – a “factor of a factor of a factor.”

The 4-3 decision likely would have been 4-4 – still upholding the UT program – if Justice Antonin Scalia had not passed away four months earlier. (Justice Elena Kagan recused herself, having submitted a friend-of-the-court brief in the case as solicitor general.)

Justice Neil Gorsuch filled Scalia’s spot the following year, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh filled Kennedy’s spot in 2018, creating a possible 5-4 majority against affirmative action if another case reaches the court.

The center’s report seeks to answer the question of what role race and ethnicity play at the five Virginia schools, “compared to other factors such as gender, residency, legacy status, and academic credential.” Only with empirical data can courts determine if race or ethnicity are “one of many factors,” it said, referring to the Supreme Court’s original ruling, known as Bakke.

“When statistically controlling for grades and test scores, along with gender, legacy status, and residency, the largest preferences were granted to blacks over whites at UVA [below] and WM, while Hispanic chances of admissions were somewhat smaller at these schools,” the report says.

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Virginia public colleges make Asian Americans work harder to get in, study finds | The College Fix (2)

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The median SAT score for whites accepted to UVA was 180 points higher than the score for black students the university accepted, and 190 points at W&M. Those gaps are about twice as large as the gaps at the other three.

Asian Americans scored 60 points higher on the SAT than whites on average among those admitted to UVA, and 50 points higher at W&M.

Each racial group’s chances of getting into UVA or W&M were only a few percentage points apart, though. Blacks were accepted at the highest rates (35 percent and 41 percent) and whites at the lowest (30 percent and 35 percent).

Yet the center claimed that its “logistic regression analysis” found “large odds ratios” in favor of blacks over whites at UVA (6.75 to 1) and W&M (19.77 to 1). The latter also had a strong preference for Hispanics over whites (6.73 to 1). Any ratio above 3 is considered “large,” and the other three schools had small ratios (1.5 and under).

The gaps were reversed – and more stark – at the other three schools, none of which admitted fewer than half of any racial group’s applicants. Whites had the highest admission rate at Virginia Tech and JMU, and tied with Asian Americans at GMU. The black-white gap was 18 to 26 percentage points.

Whites with “higher grades and test scores compared to black admitted medians” were the most likely to be rejected by UVA and W&M: They comprised 72 percent (1,675) and 82 percent (943) of the rejections. The vast majority of those were also out-of-state applicants.

The trend is reversed among the other three, whose rejections are largely in-state applicants. Far fewer who scored above black admitted medians were rejected, however.

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‘Without understanding our admission criteria, the report’s findings are useless’

Rather than respond to the study’s findings for their own schools, media relations officials issued blanket denials that their admissions practices constitute discrimination against any group.

UVA and W&M officials specifically denied they treated Asian American applicants unfairly, arguing instead that racial considerations are crucial to holistic admissions. These schools stand by the idea that diversity exposes students to unique perspectives that they may not find in otherwise racially or socioeconomically homogeneous classrooms.

UVA recruits a “talented, diverse, resilient, and service-oriented group” each year, and is proud of their “academic quality, diversity and socioeconomic breadth,” Wesley Hester, director of media relations, wrote in an email.

The university looks beyond mere test scores when combing through applications, considering “race, ethnicity, gender, artistic talent, athletic talent, veteran status, unusual life experiences and a variety of other factors” as equally important, he said.

Hester also cited “a student’s background and life experience,” such as their family history of attending college and parents’ educational level, and factors such as teacher recommendations, extracurriculars and “leadership.”

William & Mary focuses on achieving “a wide range of talents, interests and backgrounds” in each entering class, Director for News and Media Suzanne Clavet wrote in an email.

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“The option for students to disclose their race and ethnicity gives them the chance to share with us another element of their background,” she said, which allows the school “to enroll the best and brightest students and build a class representative of the public we serve.”

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James Madison University and George Mason University – two of the three that admitted white and Asian students at higher rates than black and Hispanic students – both claim that race is not a factor in their admissions process at all.

“Mason, a top tier research institution, is responsible for 64 percent of enrollment growth in the state in the last 10 years,” David Burge, vice president for enrollment management at the university, wrote in a statement provided by a spokesperson. “We pride ourselves on how many students we admit, not how many we turn away.”

“JMU is committed to diversity and strives to be an inclusive community that values the richness of all individuals and perspectives,” without making race and gender a “consideration” in admissions, spokesperson Wyatt told The Fix.

The center’s lack of communication with JMU led it to draw conclusions that are not substantiated by the holistic nature of its admission process, he said.

“Test scores are not a major factor in our decision making process nor do we consider overall GPA as part of the admissions decision,” he explained. “Without understanding our admission criteria, the report’s findings are useless.”

MORE: MIT has few Asian Americans because of ‘holistic’ admissions

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FAQs

Is it harder for Asians to get into good colleges? ›

It's no secret that college admissions is most competitive for Asian Americans and Jews, who typically have higher SAT scores and GPA's than other ethnicities, but have much lower enrollment rates.

Why do Asians do better in academics? ›

The first explanation suggests that Asian-American youth's academic advantage can be attributed to advantages in socio-demographic factors. Relative to whites, their parents tend to be better educated, and they are more likely to live in stable, two-parent families with higher incomes (5).

Where do most Asian go to college? ›

United States Colleges Ranked by Highest Percent of Asian Students
School% Asian
Honolulu Community College Honolulu, HI40.6%
Long Island Business Institute Flushing, NY40.3%
University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, HI39.9%
Evergreen Valley College San Jose, CA38.4%
14 more rows

What percent of Asian kids go to college? ›

In 2016, the total college enrollment rate was higher for Asian young adults (58 percent) than for young adults who were of Two or more races (42 percent), White (42 percent), Hispanic (39 percent), Black (36 percent), Pacific Islander (21 percent), and American Indian/Alaska Native (19 percent).

What race has the highest chance of getting into college? ›

In 2018, the college enrollment rate among 18- to 24-year- olds was higher for those who were Asian (59 percent) than for those of other reported racial and ethnic groups.

Does Harvard accept Asians? ›

At Harvard, the percentage of Asian American students grew from 15.5 percent in 2006 to 25.9 percent in the admitted class in 2021, which suggests that race-conscious admissions “have likely helped, rather than harmed, Asian American applicants,” the AALDEF said.

Why do Asians look younger? ›

As a plastic surgeon sees it, there are structural reasons that people age differently. “Asians have a wider bone structure than a typical Caucasian face,” Dobryansky notes. “The soft-tissue loss is seen and felt to a lesser extent because of the wider structure.

Why are Asians so good at math? ›

We most easily memorize whatever we can say or read within that two-second span. And Chinese speakers get that list of numbers — 4, 8, 5, 3, 9, 7, 6 — right almost every time because, unlike English, their language allows them to fit all those seven numbers into two seconds. Chinese number words are remarkably brief.

Why do Asians get red when they drink? ›

More than one in three people with East Asian heritage (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) experience facial flushing when drinking beer, wine or spirits. In Asian populations, it is due to an inherited deficiency in one of the enzymes involved in the breakdown of alcohol: aldehyde dehydrogenase.

What do Asians major in the most? ›

Racial and Ethnic Differences in College Major Choice
AsianBlack
MajorPercentPercent
Business Administration8.210.3
Biology8.27.2
Nursing5.75.8
20 more rows
31 Mar 2015

Is it harder for Asians to get into Harvard? ›

“Thorough and comprehensive analysis of the data and evidence makes clear that Harvard College does not discriminate against applicants from any group, including Asian-Americans, whose rate of admission has grown 29 percent over the last decade,” Harvard said in a statement.

Which college has the most Chinese students? ›

According to DHS data, the campus with the largest number of Chinese students is the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pictured at top.
...
Read more on Chinese students in America:
Rank (by # of visas)1
SchoolColumbia University
7063
1
7 more columns
4 Jan 2016

What college has the highest white population? ›

North Dakota State University is a large public school based in Fargo. The university is one of the least diverse colleges or universities in the country, with a nearly 90% white student body.

What is the race percentage at Harvard? ›

Ethnicity
African American15.2%
Asian American27.9%
Hispanic or Latino12.6%
Native American2.9%
Native Hawaiian0.8%

Does Harvard consider race? ›

The court has for more than four decades upheld policies like those at Harvard, which consider race as one factor among many in admissions, and recognized that schools have a compelling interest in achieving the benefits associated with a diverse student body.

What is the Chinese equivalent of Harvard? ›

As of 2022, Tsinghua University ranked 14th in the world by the 2023 QS World University Rankings and 16th globally by the 2022 Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In 2021, Tsinghua ranked first in the Asia-Pacific region by THE Asia University Rankings and the U.S. News & World Report.

What is the Harvard of Asia? ›

The Harvard University Asia Center is an interdisciplinary research and education unit of Harvard University, established on July 1, 1997, with the goal of "driving varied programs focusing on international relations in Asia and comparative studies of Asian countries and regions (...) and supplementing other Asia- ...

Where do most Harvard students come from? ›

The majority of the Harvard students who live in the U.S. are from Massachusetts.

Do Asians age slower? ›

Asian skin has a thicker dermis than white skin, meaning it contains more collagen. Research from 2019 noted that Asian females may not notice wrinkles until they reach their 50s. Loss of connective tissue will not occur at the same speed for all people in these racial groups.

Do Asians count age differently? ›

Since age is incremented at the beginning of the lunar or solar year, rather than on the anniversary of a birthday, people are one or two years older under Asian reckoning when compared to the international age system.

Why do Asians have nice skin? ›

Asians have thicker skin because we have a thicker dermis due to larger and more numerous collagen-producing cells (known as fibroblasts) in this second layer of our skin. All those extra fibroblasts produce extra collagen which helps to preserve our skin's elasticity.

What country is #1 in math? ›

Top Ten Countries with the Highest Math Ranking:

United States — 45.8% United Kingdom — 6.3% Germany — 6% France — 5.3%

Which country is the smartest in math? ›

#1: SINGAPORE

According to an international benchmarking study, Singapore ranked as the #1 country to have students performing their best in Mathematics and Science.

What race has highest alcohol tolerance? ›

Which Race Has The Highest Alcohol Tolerance? There is no particular race that has the highest alcohol tolerance, only races that may be circumstantially predisposed to higher rates of alcoholism than others.

What is it called when Asians get drunk? ›

The reaction is the result of an accumulation of acetaldehyde, a metabolic byproduct of the catabolic metabolism of alcohol, and is caused by an aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 deficiency. Alcohol flush reaction. Other names. Asian flush syndrome, Asian flush reaction, Asian glow, Asian red face glow.

What is it called when Asians turn red? ›

Asian flush syndrome increases risk of certain diseases and cancers. The build-up of acetaldehyde is what causes blood vessels to dilate and the face to turn red - the so-called “Asian flush syndrome”. The problem goes beyond aesthetics: Acetaldehyde is more toxic than alcohol and a known cancer-causing agent.

Which race is the most educated in the United States? ›

Asian Americans had the highest educational attainment of any race, followed by whites who had a higher percentage of high school graduates but a lower percentage of college graduates.

What is the most respected major? ›

Saving money during and after college
RankDeclared degreePercent with advanced degree
1Architectural Engineering29%
2Construction Services12%
3Computer Engineering40%
4Aerospace Engineering51%
35 more rows
4 Oct 2021

Which major is the richest? ›

Majors That Make The Most Millionaires
  1. Engineering. Engineering is a broad field with many sub-fields that can make their graduates incredibly successful and wealthy if they know how to use their assets. ...
  2. Biochemistry. ...
  3. Law. ...
  4. Finance. ...
  5. Computer Science. ...
  6. Marketing. ...
  7. MBA (Master of Business Administration)
22 Mar 2022

How do Asians get into Ivy? ›

Your grades and test scores need to be near perfect. (A study showed Asians had to score an average of 140 points higher on the SAT than whites to get into the same highly competitive school.) Your extracurriculars must be outstanding, oftentimes at the national or international level.

What is the average SAT score for Asians? ›

The Average SAT Scores by Ethnicity
Ethnicity# of Test TakersEBRW
American Indian/Alaska Native14,800473
Asian175,468596
Black/African American201,645474
Hispanic/Latino396,422490
5 more rows
15 Oct 2022

Is UCLA full of Asians? ›

An overview of the data that makes UCLA unique.
...
Student Diversity by Ethnicity.
EthnicityUndergraduateGraduate
Asian & Pacific Islander33%22%
Hispanic21%12%
White26%32%
Other Domestic or Unknown4%5%
2 more rows

Where do most Chinese study? ›

The top 10 countries with the most Chinese students are the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Russia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, based on data from Project Atlas 2019, a report published by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

What percentage of Asians go to Yale? ›

University-wide Enrollments by Ethnicity (% of non-international enrollment)*
Ethnicity%
Asian16.2%
Black or African-American6.4%
Hispanic of any race11.2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander0.1%
3 more rows

What college has the most foreign students? ›

Universities hosting the most international students in the United States in 2020/21
CharacteristicNumber of students
University of California - Los Angeles, CA10,273
University of California - Berkeley, CA9,184
University of Washington, WA8,777
University of Texas - Dallas, TX8,475
9 more rows
17 Nov 2021

Is it harder for Chinese students to get into college? ›

Results for Asian students on the SAT

Researchers at Princeton University found that applicants who identify as Asian need to score 140 points higher on the SAT than a white applicant in order to have an equal chance at admission into an elite college—they dubbed this the “Asian tax” in college admissions.

What percentage of Asians get into Harvard? ›

Ethnicity
African American15.2%
Asian American27.9%
Hispanic or Latino12.6%
Native American2.9%
Native Hawaiian0.8%

Do Asians have a harder time getting into Harvard? ›

Harvard data released as part of the lawsuit showed that admitted Asian-American students have a higher average SAT score and lower rate of admission than any other racial group. It also revealed that Asian-Americans would make up 43% of Harvard's admitted class if only academics were considered.

Why Chinese students are no longer choosing US universities? ›

Some have had their study plans disrupted by the pandemic and tougher travel policies, others are put off by reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in the US.

Is Chinese or American education better? ›

A growing number of Chinese students are choosing to study abroad when they reach the college level. However, at the elementary, middle school and high school levels, Chinese parents consider the Chinese education system to be the best in the world.

How much money does China give Harvard? ›

Harvard's Funding from Around the Globe

Harvard received 12.9 percent of the total funding given to American universities by Chinese sources — the most of any school.

What is the average GPA for Harvard? ›

Average GPA: 4.18

The average GPA at Harvard is 4.18. (Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

Which Ivy League is the easiest to get into for international students? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate.

What percentage of Asians go to UCLA? ›

Student Diversity by Ethnicity
EthnicityUndergraduateGraduate
Asian & Pacific Islander33%22%
Hispanic21%12%
White26%32%
Other Domestic or Unknown4%5%
2 more rows

Do Asians do better on the SAT? ›

The race gap in test scores is far from a new phenomenon; Asian and white students consistently outperform their Black and Hispanic or Latino peers on the math section of the SAT.

Which race has the highest SAT score? ›

Analysis. Figure 9.1 shows the mean SAT score by racial/ethnic group. Asian students have the highest mean SAT scores.

Can a perfect SAT score get you into Harvard? ›

There's no absolute SAT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 1460 to have a chance at being considered.

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