Applying to Harvard as an Asian-American

Article Source: NY Times
Original Post Date: June 28, 2018

To the Editor:

Re “Harvard Rates Asian-Americans as Less Likable, Plaintiffs Claim” (front page, June 16):

I think I can speak for all college admissions consultants when I say that none of us were shocked by the recently released Harvard investigation, included in court documents, revealing that the university rated Asian-American applicants consistently lower on personality traits.

Helping other Asian-Americans beat the odds demands cynicism. Assume that admissions officers will view you in a certain light. So, actively combat their preconceived notions. Try football, join the musical (the cast, not the orchestra), and study 14th-century French art if you want to render your reviewer speechless with all those broken stereotypes.

I wish it weren’t so, but the overarching stereotype that all Asians are similar is rooted in partial truth, as is every bias. Is it racist of me to admit that most high-achieving Asians tend to have shared values — and play piano? Like many other Asian kids, I used to be passive and shy outside the comfort of my home.

But to conclude that Asian-Americans broadly lack desirable personality traits is despicable. Discrimination against Asian-Americans in college admissions is a classic manifestation of cultures clashing, and some people seem unduly paranoid, as if having too many Asian-American Yale students would somehow harm America. Even though we love cheeseburgers just as much as kimchi.


The writer, a rising sophomore at Yale, works for its Office of Undergraduate Admissions and as a private consultant.