Asian-American Applicants Wonder About a Higher Bar

Lakshmi Subramanian indicated that she is Asian on her college applications. It’s not as if she has anything to hide, says Ms. Subramanian, a senior at Thomas S. Wootton High School, in Rockville, Md.

But answering the question did make Ms. Subramanian, who was born in India and moved to the United States as a baby, think that students who responded differently could gain an edge. Perhaps a student with a weaker application than hers would be admitted “because they’re part of a really small minority,” she says.

It’s unfair, Ms. Subramanian says, but she can also see why admissions offices might operate that way. The colleges want to have a diverse student body—and she hopes to be part of one herself. In other words, Ms. Subramanian can appreciate the complexity of how selective colleges shape a class even as she wonders whether it will work against her.

Ms. Subramanian was one of about a dozen Asian and Asian-American students at Wootton who shared their thoughts on the admissions process for my article on whether such students feel they are held to a higher standard in admissions. You can read it here.

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