Ex-Ivy League admissions officer reveals why it's sometimes tougher for Asian kids to get in

CAMBRIDGE, MA - JUNE 5: A Harvard University graduate takes a picture at commencement ceremonies June 5, 2008, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. J.K. Rowling, who wrote the popular Harry Potter books, was the commencement speaker. (Photo by Robert Spencer/Getty Images)Robert Spencer/Getty ImagesFormer Cornell admissions officer talks about race in college admissions.

Reddit hosted an AMA, or Ask Me Anything, that featured former Cornell admissions officer Nelson Ureña answering questions about the admissions process at the Ivy League school.

Ureña, now a cofounder of college-mentor application company Mentorverse, provided his honest answer to a student who asked if he should withhold the fact that he’s an Asian applicant, considering his ACT score was low.

Ureña stops short of telling the student what he should do, but he seems to imply that it may be beneficial to withhold his race from the application.

Here’s the inside scoop Ureña provided:

To get to your question about race, given the way that the admissions process works at many schools, often times for the sake of CONTEXT, demographic data is used to aggregate students into pools with similarities along certain demographic statistics.

The honest fact is that, it is often the case that Asian and Asian American students often have relatively high test scores and so your application would fall (depending on how the individual school reading your application creates their applicant pools) in a pool with peers who have relatively high test scores.

In your context your score of 28 is relatively low compared with Asian applicants to some of the more selective schools. I will let you read between the lines here and come to your own conclusions about whether or not you wish to report your race.

I would also mention that if there are ways in which you stand out from others within the context of your demographic grouping then it would be smart to highlight those ways in which you stand out.

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