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Of course, having parents or other relatives who attended the university themselves, or donated considerable sums of money to the institution, can be of great help as well.Each admissions committee has a different view of the significance and value of personal statements.Amongst other findings, an analysis conducted for the plaintiffs by economist Peter Arcidiacono of Duke University, found that Asian-American applicants were, on average, rated lower on “positive personality” traits, including likability, courage and kindness, thanall other ethnic groups.
Students for Fair Admissions is a legal advocacy group, led by conservative legal activist Edward Blum, a prominent opponent of the use of race in college admissions.
Students for Fair Admissions is suing on behalf of Asian-American applicants who were denied entrance to Harvard, and believe that the university has engaged in discriminatory admissions practices.
This places the applicant at a relative disadvantage for gaining admission, through absolutely no fault of her own. Perhaps an admissions officer views lacrosse as a better predictor of whether someone will contribute to a university, than participation in the drama club, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen.
In this situation, our lacrosse player gains an unfair advantage over others.
Similar biases can manifest against students whose essays engage with questions of how class, race or gender impacted lives.
Or, perhaps those who use their writing to demonstrate how they were affected by such issues, might seem blissfully unaware of such concerns.While Harvard contests Aricidiacono’s research, Students for Fair Admission argues this is just one of many indicators of widespread bias against Asian Americans.They argue that based on criteria like academics and extracurricular activities, far more Asian Americans should have been admitted to Harvard in recent years (Asian-Americans have the lowest acceptance rate of any group of Harvard applicants).Yet, this statement underscores how what is discussed in a personal statement, and the way it connects with a particular reader, can ultimately influence admissions decisions.The admissions process remains opaque — and universities seem to prefer this status quo.Each fall, a ritual is repeated across the United States. High school students strive to tell a story which showcases who they are, and what they’ve experienced, overcome and accomplished. I’m referring to the personal statement section of college applications, which is required to obtain admission, at most four-year institutions.Admissions should not be based solely on grades or test scores — long-term success in life certainly isn’t.Yet, giving undue weight to such information, poses serious risks to the fairness of the process.They work to stand apart from their peers — each of whom also aims to convey uniqueness.For those who are fortunate, this piece of writing, combined with one’s academic record, standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, and teacher recommendation letters, will result in admission to the university of their dreams.