Don’t Let Others Tell You Who You Are

In an article from the Huffington Post, “Why I’ll Still Put ‘Asian’ On College Applications Even If It Costs Me Admission”. Rebecca Stevenson delivers a message that every college applicant and their parents should take to heart. Rebecca is the product of a mother born in India and a father born in the United States. Like so many other young adults, while working through the process or applying to college she got caught up in the hype. With information being published and repeated throughout the media machine that Asians were having a difficult time getting accepted to elite institutions of higher learning, Rebecca began contemplating how she could keep her ethnicity secret while responding honestly to all the questions and writing prompts on the applications.

Thankfully, Rebecca realized how awkward it made her feel to cover up something that had become such an integral part of her identity. The rich heritage of the Indian culture she lived and learned about from a very young age was too much a part of her to hide for the sake of impressing some college.

Think about it. All your qualifications are competitive with any other student in the country. You are at the top of your class, your SAT scores are above 1400, you are an officer in a club and are a two-year starter in a varsity sport. You have held down a part-time job for the last two years and still have time to volunteer every week. Everything looks great until the admissions committee reaches the place on the application asking about race or ethnicity. In Rebecca’s case the hole in her application was placing, “Asian” in the space provided but equally as limiting for others is completing that question with Black, Latino or any number of ethnicities that seldom get a fair shake.

What every student and their family need to realize is that there are literally thousands of college campuses that can deliver a great education in hundreds of majors. There are a handful of them that are perfect places for “you”. Adopting Rebecca’s attitude about dismissive schools can be both healthy and liberating: “I will be Asian and white and all that I am and if a college doesn’t want to accept that, I don’t want to be there.” Take control of the situation and choose the school, don’t depend on the school to choose you.

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