While many stories are published about Affirmative Action and college admissions with regards to Black and Hispanic students, it’s much less common to see anything related to Asian students. Two articles published recently in the New York Times (Link) and the Huffington Post (Link) bring to light how Affirmative Action affects Asian students, and as noble as the concept is, somewhere down the line the actual implementation of the policy became disadvantageous to the Asian student population. The whole concept behind Affirmative Action revolves around taking measures to ensure that minority populations are afforded the same educational and employment opportunities as the majority population, but for a variety of reasons mentioned in the above articles, Asian students end up getting the short end of the stick when applying to college.
During the application process, it is important to understand what sorts of background factors are at play which may affect your chances at acceptance. The above articles detail the relationship between Asians and other populations, and there are other dynamics at play even within the Asian student population itself. It is difficult not to believe that colleges evaluate Asian students with less granularity than other minority populations despite all the potential cultural differences and backgrounds. For example, say there is a stack of applications to one school consisting of 15 Chinese students, 10 Japanese students, 1 Indonesian student, 2 Thai students, 1 Filipino student, and 8 Korean students, all with spectacular credentials. Each applicant is more than qualified for acceptance, but it’s not at all unlikely to hear that “all these applications look similar” even though this pool contains students from many countries and covers the spectrum of socioeconomic status. Because of this preconception, many of these students will not be accepted despite having a strong enough profile.
Whether or not this treatment is the result of subconscious bias from the admissions officers or an effort by schools to not radically alter the existing racial proportions of the existing classes, the politically inoffensive reason colleges can always give is that they are looking to create a “diverse” student body, relying on the often times vague meaning of the word to skirt the race conversation. It unfortunately remains that until these biases and differences in treatment are addressed the Asian student population needs to work that much harder just to get to the same starting line.
TLM Academics aims to help Asian students bring out the unique aspects of their profiles which will prevent admissions officers from saying “this application looks the same as the others”. Through long-term planning based around students' individual strengths, TLM Academics creates a solid foundation and guides students on how to best highlight their distinctive features during the college application process.