Asian students accepted to elite private universities in 1997 had much higher SAT scores than whites, Hispanics or blacks, concluded a study by Thomas Epenshade, a Princeton sociology professor. From the Daily Princetonian:
. . . African-American applicants with SAT scores of 1150 had the same chances of being accepted as white applicants with 1460s and Asian applicants with perfect 1600s.
The results of the study come three years after Jian Li, a rejected Princeton applicant, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. He alleged in the complaint that he had been discriminated against based on his race when he was denied admission to the University.
Espenshade noted that Asian-American students with high grades and test scores might have had weaker “soft variables,” such as essays, extracurriculars and teacher recommendations.
That’s not likely. College-bound Asian-Americans may be weaker in writing skills, if English is their second language, but they’re just as strong in extracurriculars as their classmates and just as likely to impress teachers. If overcoming adversity wins bonus points, many Asian students should qualify as the children of struggling immigrants. A more likely explanation is that college admissions staffers want a class balanced in interests — not too many science and math majors — and in appearance. It’s like the old quotas against Jews.