do college admissions hold asian american applicants to higher standards?

Thanks to recent headlines and controversial news items like Amy Chua's now-infamous "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior" essay, there's been a lot of attention given to the crazy great lengths Asian parents will go to in order to ensure their kids get into the best colleges.

But according to this Boston Globe article, all that hard work (plus the crazy extreme measures) might not necessarily pay off, since many colleges might actually be holding Asian American students to higher standards than other groups: Competitive disadvantage.
Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that universities can continue to consider race in admissions in the interest of diversity, admissions officers deny they're screening out Asian-Americans. However, in researching their 2009 book No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal, Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and researcher Alexandria Walton Radford examined data on students applying to college in 1997 and found what looks like different standards for different racial groups. They calculated that Asian-Americans needed nearly perfect SAT scores of 1550 to have the same chance of being accepted at a top private university as whites who scored 1410 and African-Americans who got 1100. Whites were three times, Hispanics six times, and blacks more than 15 times as likely to be accepted at a US university as Asian-Americans.
It's true -- there are a lot of Asian Americans students getting into universities. Some might call that an "overrepresentation," and some might just plain call the schools "too Asian." But it's also entirely possible that Asians are both overrepresented and being discriminated against in college admissions.

The numbers suggest that elite universities are indeed handicapping Asian American applicants... and some are saying it might be time to fight back. I had to appreciate this little nudge from one of the organizers quoted in the story: "If we Asian Americans don't organize, there's no amount of piano practicing that will help us."

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