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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Rejected by 16 colleges, 18-year-old takes Google job: Yes, he's Asian

Stanley Zhong earned nearly perfect grades (3.97 unweighted, 4.42 weighted) and SAT scores (1590 out of 1600). He founded his own e-signing startup RabbitSign in his sophomore year at Palo Alto's Gunn High School, and competed in national coding competitions.

But he was rejected by MIT, Cal Tech, Stanford and Cornell -- and 12 others. No state university in California, his home state, accepted Zhong, including Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara (not all that selective) and Cal Poly. Can California afford to send high-tech talent away?

Zhong also was turned down by the universities of Illinois, Michigan, Washington and Wisconsin, but he got into the University of Texas and the University of Maryland. He planned to go to UT -- until he got a job offer from Google. He started work this week as a software engineer.

ABC7's Kristen Sze interviewed Stanley and his father after a witness brought up his story at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on affirmative action in college admissions.

If you watch the video, you'll see a pleasant, articulate young man. He wonders why he was not good enough for so many universities -- and not just Stanford and MIT. (Sze says she read his essay and saw no "red flags.") Was it just bad luck?

Zhong plans to work for a year, then decide whether to enroll at UT or skip college.

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