If you're a random (non-ALDC) African American in the 30-40% (4th decile) range for academics you have the same chance of getting in as an Asian American in the top 10%. They each have about a 12% chance.
> Our model of admissions shows that roughly three quarters of white ALDC admits would have been rejected if they had been treated as white non-ALDCs.
If we're looking at how group membership affects acceptance rates, why not ask how many white ALDC admits would get in if treated as African American non-ALDCs? Why not ask how many Asians would get in if treated like Hispanics? Why not ask how many African Americans would get in if treated like Asians? The whole paper looks like a reflection of the cultural value that it's a good thing to go after rich white people, a bad thing to go after anybody else.
The interesting comparison is in Table 6 Panel B: White LDC vs African American non-LDC. For the top 60% academically just being black carries about as much advantage as being in the elite 4% (roughly) of white people who have some form of deep connections to the school. If you're in the bottom 40% you're better off being white with connections.
Consider: Table 6, which you cited, shows that legacy dunces (3rd decile) have a better chance of getting into Harvard than academic toppers (top decile) who aren't legacies. Yet you chose to focus on the much smaller gap between admit rates of African Americans and Asian Americans.
The numbers you pointed out:
White LDC 3rd Decile: 16.67%
White non-ALDC 10th Decile: 15.27%
The "much smaller gap" that I chose to focus on:
African American non-ALDC 4th Decile: 12.76%
Asian American non-ALDC 10th Decile: 12.69%
3rd vs. 10th decile in one case is worth an academic paper with 3 authors collaborating from 3 different universities. Plus their associations with NBER and IZA.
4th vs 10th decile in the other case is something I was socially conditioned to see and is not worth focusing on at all.
I think that if the study's authors had completely messed up a spreadsheet and replaced the numbers for the White LDC/White non-ALDC columns with the numbers from the African American non-ALDC/Asian American non-ALDC columns, you would suddenly find those numbers to be troubling.
If you want to you could figure out how many white ALDC admits would get in if treated as African American non-ALDCs; I'd encourage you to then normalize across high school quality and expense, too. And looking at the lot of Asian-Americans in US college admissions is certainly important right now. For a quick peek, just look at Caltech's admits, since they have historically ignored legacy and race unlike everyone else.
But again, who else are you going to rag on if you're going to investigate the effect of legacy admissions and prof's children admissions? Due to the historic legal structure of the US it's just going to be really white. Fortunately for us ladies, men have daughters at a relatively high rate and we're allowed to go to college now so we can now benefit from unfair advantages too. (Again, it's instructive to look at Caltech, which did not admit women until the early 1970s and famously did not hire Emmy Noether because she was female. The percentage of women students has risen steadily as access to math and science education has become more available to the girls of the college-going classes of the US.)
What? I'm having trouble finding a reference. I know the story that she faced discrimination and Hilbert vouched for her, but that was in Germany. I didn't know there was any from Caltech.
Why is it assumed that we have to rag on people? If we are ragging on people, what standards are we using? Obviously it's still ok to get artificial help to the top if you're in some groups, but not in others. That means it's ok to be discriminated against if you're in some groups, too.
Speaking of Caltech, female applicants have 3x the chance of getting into Caltech as male applicants. It's almost certain that qualified males aren't getting in because they're males. That was the problem with Emmy Noether: she was qualified but couldn't get in because she was female. If the discrimination right now is against the males, why are we talking about Emmy Noether being forced to audit classes in 1903 on the other side of the world?
If we assume "equality" in the groups of male and female students applying to Caltech for 2016-2017, meaning they both should have the same acceptance rate, then 134 seats were taken from the guys because they're guys and given to the girls because they're girls. Maybe you can argue the girls only apply if they're really serious, but 3x?
 - https://www.parchment.com/c/college/college-178-Caltech.html...
edit: here's a better data source: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=caltech&s=CA&l=93&id...
It shows 3x admissions advantage for females with over 2x enrollment advantage. Everybody's saying they don't do affirmative action but it's hard to believe at least for gender. But the racial demographics are extremely different from Harvard's so maybe the female applicant pool really is 2x as likely to be qualified. I need more data.
The 266/267 ratio of acceptance letters is probably too good to be true, it's hard to believe they could so perfectly calibrate this outreach program.
If the school is spending money recruiting females and not males it demonstrates they're more valued even before starting the application process. That's a bias, and I know at my school that bias which started before the application process extended all the way through the 4 year experience and even into the hiring process where companies have internal numbers to hit.
I have a lot of respect for Caltech and they deserve credit for not taking part in the widespread anti-Asian discrimination.
If anything, it’s better for society to get smart people in other colleges. Too much brainpower is wasted on the investment banking and consulting mills that the Ivy League is sending people into these days.
The direct weights given to each category is only part of the story, it’s also where the breaks exist within each category. Allow more people to hit rank 1 in a category directly reduces the impact of that category. Basically, does an academic 5 start at 27 and below ACT or 25 etc etc.
Donations used directly for operations is way, way less than 1/3rd. A little over half the operating budget comes from interest on the endowment, I don’t know how to figure how much of that can be attributed to donations rather than investments, patents, etc.
It’s clear to me that any attempt to make these admissions criteria is doomed to fail because *there is no good definition of “qualified”, and there can’t be. I’d wager if you dropped any 75th percentile student from NC State at MIT they’d probably perform well enough to graduate. Not 5.0, but with enough grit they’d do it.
I think more people should accept that all selective admissions is at some level social engineering. Making it more “equal” is a noble goal - but it’s still social engineering. These efforts would be better spent improving institutions that lead to actual class mobility rather than arguing whether 20% or 30% of Asian applicants to Harvard should get in for nebulous reasons.
I went to NC State, for the record. Am I just "far behind"?
NC State has a graduation rate of 75%. Duke (where I was rejected for being an inferior candidate) has one that’s 95%.
The white thing certainly is problematic culturally, but it's not REALLY the problem its more of a symptom of previous power choosing future power.
I think it is utterly fascinating to watch the world change and watch morals and mores change, but still see power reconfiguring, like mercury falling into a groove, to maintain power and bend law to its service! And the naive/idealistic among us say oh, we'd never do things like our ignorant and unenlightened ancestors. We don't see race. We don't see color. We're a pure meritocracy, with advancement ruled only by your access to the best schools ;)
Absolutely beautifully put.
It doesn’t benefit whites, it benefits kids with rich parents. Similarly, Affirmative Action benefits kids with lesser academics, but explicitly based on their race.
Perhaps if they want to draw apples-to-oranges comparisons they would do well to point this out.
You have made two factual misrepresentations about the content of the paper in this thread so far. That doesn't seem like discussing in good faith.
For reference, the abstract of the paper is:
> The lawsuit Students For Fair Admissions v. Harvard University provided an un-
precedented look at how an elite school makes admissions decisions. Using publicly
released reports, we examine the preferences Harvard gives for recruited athletes, legacies, those on the dean’s interest list, and children of faculty and staff (ALDCs). Among
white admits, over 43% are ALDC. Among admits who are African American, Asian
American, and Hispanic, the share is less than 16% each. Our model of admissions
shows that roughly three quarters of white ALDC admits would have been rejected if
they had been treated as white non-ALDCs. Removing preferences for athletes and
legacies would significantly alter the racial distribution of admitted students, with the
share of white admits falling and all other groups rising or remaining unchanged.
pg 34: "Each of the ALDC preferences primarily benefit white students."
Many colleges care about legacy admissions because they cement a family (and their donations and alumni networks and job help and etc) to a college more securely than anything else. It is also true that this perpetuates the patterns of the past. One of those patterns in the US is that white people got to go to college and others did not. White people should not get too sensitive about this. It's just true.
"The ongoing debate about the use of affirmative action in college admissions has also drawn attention to the impact that other admissions preferences have on the racial composition of college students"
> The advantages for athletes are especially large, with an average admit rate for recruited athletes of 86%
Athletes at Harvard are recruited by coaches who look for students who are good athletes and also will be admitted. They know what the admissions committee looks for and won't recruit any student who doesn't have a strong chance of getting in.
I'm sure recruited athletes have an advantage, but saying it's "especially large" because a pool of applicants hand picked by coaches have a high admit rate doesn't make any sense.
For the record, I believe colleges like Harvard should stop giving a boost to legacies and athletes. But we need to a have fact-based discussion about it. Papers like this pretending to be research that are really op eds, don't help anything.
They are doing more analysis than you suggest. They are looking at Athlete admits, and comparing their scores in other categories like academics, and noting they are much lower than other admits. I.e., the paper is not just looking at admit rate.
Recruited athlete admits are universally weaker than non-ALDC admits on these ratings.
This is not surprising, given that we know athletes are stronger on the athletic rating. But
for some race and rating combinations, the differences are striking. At most, 28% of white
athlete admits receive a 2 or higher on the academic rating. In contrast, 89% of white
non-ALDC admits receive a 2 or higher on the academic rating. 78% of Asian American
non-ALDC admits receive a 2 or higher on the extracurricular rating, while at most 12% of
admitted Asian American athletes receive a similarly high extracurricular rating.