Are North American universities becoming "too Asian"?

Mithril

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This was an article that was posted on the Canadian weekly news magazine Maclean's. It was quickly taken off the site because of its nature but reposted on various blogs:

http://www.ehdtstudios.com/2010/11/too-asian-canada-macleansca.html

What do people think about this issue (or non-issue)? Is this a problem at university campuses in North America? For the record, I am Asian (but not in the sense of being East Asian).
 
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"They complain that they can’t compete for spots in the best schools and can’t party as much as they’d like"

Oh wait... you mean you shouldn't have to work hard and sacrifice something to do well?

Maybe instead of complaining, people should work harder to get what they want.
 

Avoidthetiger

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wow. talk about generalizing white and east asian students.

Very interesting. 140 extra SAT points are a lot but if there is little student representation from the Asian population in university clubs, it may be that there is little in high school as well. I wonder if differences by race exist in the US if you standardize in terms of # of EC activity hours or something.
ummm... did you not read about the part that many asian students do participate in clubs? They just aren't involved with student politics or more traditional university clubs. Asians are still active in ECs (even in HS :O )
 

startswithb

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Thanks for sharing. What an interesting comparison between US and Canadian admissions policies. While Asians do make up a large percentage of academic superstars, I don't think it's right to fault people for having a difference in values!
 

Avoidthetiger

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"To quell the influx of Jewish students, Ivy League schools abandoned their meritocratic admissions processes in favour of one that focused on the details of an applicant’s private life—questions about race, religion, even about the maiden name of an applicant’s mother. Schools also began looking at such intangibles as character, personality and leadership potential. Canadian universities, apart from highly competitive professional programs and faculties, don’t quiz applicants the same way, and rely entirely on transcripts. Likely that is a good thing."

I think this was the most interesting part of the entire article. Later on I plan on seeing if I can actually find citations about Ivy League schools chaing their admissions criteria for this reason. Regardless of the reason US admissions practices changed though, I am more down with this than just have a university look at my transcript in determing whether to accept me or not.
 

gree

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there is little student representation from the Asian population in university clubs, it may be that there is little in high school as well.
Neither assertion is true. Asians adapt to the rules of the game very well.
 
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University student populations are becoming older, less white, and more female. Somewhere in there is a small story about Asians, I guess.
 

Narmerguy

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Interesting read. Clearly discrimination is being flirted with at some institutions. However, at the same time, I feel it should be a university's option to try to create a collegiate environment that brings many different threads together. As a student, I appreciate my university trying to make sure it gets different students (mine doesn't) and it's so irritating being at a university where 40% of the university all talk the same, dress the same, are interested in the same stuff, etc etc (in my case, this is actually a segment of the white population). It sucks. The option should certainly be available to universities to try to select students they feel will offer the greatest experience and the greatest enhancement to the entire organization. Maybe that has something to do with race, maybe that has something to do with trying to get more art and music majors, maybe that has something to do with getting older students.
 
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Public universities exist to provide educational opportunities for their state's population. When groups (however you want to define them) are disproportionally over- and under-represented in a public school's student body relative to their percentage composition of the population, there's arguably a problem.

Forget what any of us think, many schools think this is a problem. UC has announced changes in its admission practices to become less formulaic and more holistic. Both the potential winners (who've been unintentionally screwed by past practices) and losers (who perhaps received unintended benefits) will call the policies racist, that just kinda comes with the territory.

It's ironic that many private universities, who can basically do whatever they want, do a much better job of providing a diverse student population and opportunities to underrepresented groups than do neighboring public institutions. Many would expect the opposite to be true.
 

LizzyM

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"To quell the influx of Jewish students, Ivy League schools abandoned their meritocratic admissions processes in favour of one that focused on the details of an applicant’s private life—questions about race, religion, even about the maiden name of an applicant’s mother. Schools also began looking at such intangibles as character, personality and leadership potential. Canadian universities, apart from highly competitive professional programs and faculties, don’t quiz applicants the same way, and rely entirely on transcripts. Likely that is a good thing."

I think this was the most interesting part of the entire article. Later on I plan on seeing if I can actually find citations about Ivy League schools chaing their admissions criteria for this reason. Regardless of the reason US admissions practices changed though, I am more down with this than just have a university look at my transcript in determing whether to accept me or not.

You'll have to go way back ... to somewhere between 1915 and 1935, IIRC. The attitudes and policies persisted at the Ivies and other upper echelon schools through the mid-60s. The med schools were the same. There was a concern about schools and professions being "too Jewish" given that the number of qualified Jewish students outpaced the proportion of Jews in the population. Sound familiar?
 

qwerty89

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I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading this article if you are interested in the topic of college admissions. Its really an eye-opener and makes you think about it from a variety of perspectives.

I.E. like how Harvard actually seeks out individuals who will manage to be happy while remaining in the bottom 25% of the class, etc.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/10/10/051010crat_atlarge

Again, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. YOU WONT REGRET IT.
 

theli

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I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading this article if you are interested in the topic of college admissions. Its really an eye-opener and makes you think about it from a variety of perspectives.

I.E. like how Harvard actually seeks out individuals who will manage to be happy while remaining in the bottom 25% of the class, etc.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/10/10/051010crat_atlarge

Again, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. YOU WONT REGRET IT.
Very interesting article, I wish I had read more about these type of articles or studies when I was in high school instead of following the dogma of high SAT/GPA.
 

muhali3

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Very interesting article, I wish I had read more about these type of articles or studies when I was in high school instead of following the dogma of high SAT/GPA.
Yeah, I liked the article too. Especially this:

"Being a smart child isn't a terribly good predictor of success in later life, they conclude. "Non-intellective" factors—like motivation and social skills—probably matter more."

that's something I've also noticed from my own observations.

i liked this too:

"If you are sick and a hospital shuts its doors to you, you are harmed. But a selective school is not a hospital, and those it turns away are not sick. Élite schools, like any luxury brand, are an aesthetic experience—an exquisitely constructed fantasy of what it means to belong to an élite —and they have always been mindful of what must be done to maintain that experience."


 

Dianyla

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Yeah, it does sound familiar - it sounds exactly like all of the talk about how white people are "overrepresented in the educational system."
No kidding. It's almost as bad as our political system. :rolleyes:

 
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I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading this article if you are interested in the topic of college admissions. Its really an eye-opener and makes you think about it from a variety of perspectives.

I.E. like how Harvard actually seeks out individuals who will manage to be happy while remaining in the bottom 25% of the class, etc.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/10/10/051010crat_atlarge

Again, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. YOU WONT REGRET IT.
Excellent article. People should definitely read it. I think the idea of a 'brand name' is so true - when you visit, these schools just have that 'feel'. The admissions process is designed to figure out whether you fit into that elite social club, rather than fitting into an elite intellectual club.
 

Dianyla

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Thank you so much for posting that. He really hits the nail on the head with this!
The endless battle over admissions in the United States proceeds on the assumption that some great moral principle is at stake in the matter of whom schools like Harvard choose to let in—that those who are denied admission by the whims of the admissions office have somehow been harmed. If you are sick and a hospital shuts its doors to you, you are harmed. But a selective school is not a hospital, and those it turns away are not sick. Élite schools, like any luxury brand, are an aesthetic experience—an exquisitely constructed fantasy of what it means to belong to an élite —and they have always been mindful of what must be done to maintain that experience.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/10/10/051010crat_atlarge#ixzz152JaVY92
:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:
 
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I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading this article if you are interested in the topic of college admissions. Its really an eye-opener and makes you think about it from a variety of perspectives.

I.E. like how Harvard actually seeks out individuals who will manage to be happy while remaining in the bottom 25% of the class, etc.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/10/10/051010crat_atlarge

Again, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. YOU WONT REGRET IT.
good freakin read, and i dont even like reading unless its the playboys mag or wall street journals. now that i see what the other side of the issue even look like, i guess i can say this. just wait a few decades, when enough asians get rich they will prob let in more asians lol.
 
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Yeah, how dare a country that has historically been majority white have a history of democratically electing almost entirely white people! That's so racist and unfair!

What, is Norway now racist because its monarchy has been comprised of white people? Get a grip. Democracy is democracy and fair is fair, even if it falls in favor of white people once in a while.
Uhhhh....for the vast majority of our history, many minorities (and women) had almost no representation in government. Even now, many are vastly underrepresented.
 

Narmerguy

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I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading this article if you are interested in the topic of college admissions. Its really an eye-opener and makes you think about it from a variety of perspectives.

I.E. like how Harvard actually seeks out individuals who will manage to be happy while remaining in the bottom 25% of the class, etc.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/10/10/051010crat_atlarge

Again, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. YOU WONT REGRET IT.
Outstanding read. Really captures what most people desire about these schools, namely being the brand. The brand is certainly not about having the most intelligent people, and it hasn't been in a while. But then again, that's what Caltech is for (and a similar reason why many people that are quite adept at science/math have no interest in attending that school).

...Your history. First generation of my family in America.
?? You can't make an argument about the practices of a nation over its history and then deny a counter argument because you haven't been here long enough..I'm not even sure if that was a counter argument or what that was but it makes no sense. :confused:
 

wanderer

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"To quell the influx of Jewish students, Ivy League schools abandoned their meritocratic admissions processes in favour of one that focused on the details of an applicant's private life—questions about race, religion, even about the maiden name of an applicant's mother. Schools also began looking at such intangibles as character, personality and leadership potential. Canadian universities, apart from highly competitive professional programs and faculties, don't quiz applicants the same way, and rely entirely on transcripts. Likely that is a good thing."

I think this was the most interesting part of the entire article. Later on I plan on seeing if I can actually find citations about Ivy League schools chaing their admissions criteria for this reason. Regardless of the reason US admissions practices changed though, I am more down with this than just have a university look at my transcript in determing whether to accept me or not.
It was a very interesting read certainly. I've always wondered what was with the American obsession with holistic admissions, when a lot of other countries (as far as I'm aware, perhaps I'm somewhat wrong) don't do it that way. I'm not sure I agree with the bolded. Admissions has turned into a game where those most informed about what schools are looking for are most likely to seek out those opportunities regardless of how much they personally care about said activities. I think some things should be taken into account (like adverse circumstances) but the obsession with ECs doesn't make much sense for undergrad. Also the article mentions how the whole thing with legacy started in the same period. So basically a few (academically) irrelevant factors (legacy, athletic abilities, random ECs) have a huge effect on admissions.