With a perfect ACT score and 13 Advanced Placement courses under his belt, Michael Wang applied to seven Ivy League universities and Stanford in 2013.
As an Asian-American, Wang suspected his race might work against him. But he was still shocked when he was rejected by Stanford and every Ivy League school except for the University of Pennsylvania.
Wang says he worked incredibly hard and excelled in every area possible. But it still wasn’t good enough.
“There was nothing humanly possible I could do,” Wang told us, explaining that he felt utterly demoralized after his rejections.
After Wang was rejected from most of the Ivies, he says he filed a complaint with the US Department of Education alleging Yale, Stanford, and Princeton discriminated against him because he was Asian-American.
Wang isn’t alone in his belief that the Ivies discriminate against Asians. A coalition of Asian-American groups filed a lawsuit against Harvard University last month alleging the school and other Ivy League institutions use racial quotas to admit students to the detriment of more qualified Asian-American applicants. The more than 60 Asian groups are coming together to fight what they say are unfair admission practices.
Wang’s credentials are impressive. Academically, he was ranked second overall in his class and graduated with a 4.67 weighted average GPA. He scored a 2230 on his SAT, placing him in the 99th percentile of students who took the exam.
He also stressed that he was not just academically driven, but also a well-rounded applicant who maximized his extracurricular activities. He competed in national speech and debate competitions and maths competitions. He also plays the piano and performed in the choir that sang at President Barack Obama’s 2008 inauguration.
Wang hasn’t heard back from the department about his complaints but strongly supports the most recent complaint filed by the coalition of Asian-American groups.
For now, he’s enjoying his time at Williams College, where he just finished his sophomore year. And while Williams is a stellar college, consistently ranking in the top if not number one in the US News and World Report’s rankings of liberal arts colleges, Wang still feels that he was unfairly rejected from the Ivies.
“I think I deserve better than what I got,” he said.
In addition to last month’s complaint filed against Harvard University, a nonprofit group called Students for Fair Admissions filed lawsuits against
Harvard University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill last November for alleged discrimination against Asian-American students in their undergraduate admissions policies.
And a recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal called Asian-Americans “The New Jews of Harvard Admissions,” referencing the university’s well-documented policies to keep out Jewish students during the early 20th century.
For its part, Harvard refutes the complaints, and said in a formal comment on its website “within its holistic admissions process, and as part of its effort to build a diverse class, Harvard College has demonstrated a strong record of recruiting and admitting Asian-American students.”
Moreover, Harvard said that a previous investigation from the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights found the college’s “approach to admissions was fully compliant with federal law.”
We reached out to Princeton, Stanford, and Yale for comment and will update this post if we hear back.