News

Stanford University files amicus brief in Harvard admissions case

Universities argue against race-blind admissions

Stanford University is among the 15 private universities that have joined together in "one voice" in an amicus brief to defend Harvard University against a lawsuit alleging race-based discrimination in admissions.

A nonprofit group called Students for Fair Admissions accused Harvard in 2014 of discriminating against Asian-American applicants. The ensuing federal trial — which has attracted national attention and pulled back the curtain on opaque, elite admissions decisions — ended in Boston on Friday. Harvard has denied the claims and defended its commitment to diversity.

The amicus brief, filed by Stanford's Office of the General Counsel in August, argues that "individualized and holistic review of applications is the best means that universities can employ in pursuit of meaningful diversity" and that race-neutral admissions are "unworkable."

"Universities should not be ordered to blind themselves to race and ethnicity as they seek to gain insight into each applicant and to build a class that is more than the sum of its part," the brief reads.

In the brief, the colleges and universities emphasize the importance and value of a student body that is diverse in background, including race, ethnicity, faith and life experiences. While they take race into consideration it's not the "defining feature." These schools do not reserve spots in any given class for applicants of a particular race or ethnicity, they write in the brief.

The brief argues that race-neutral admissions policies would harm their diversity efforts, pointing to the University of California system, which under a 1997 state proposition is barred from considering race in admissions with the goal of increasing minority student representation. Enrollment numbers for underrepresented minorities "have not rebounded at UC's most selective campuses" since 1997 nor have overall enrollment numbers at UCs kept up with demographic changes in California, according to an amicus brief the president and chancellors of the University of California filed in a 2013 University of Texas affirmative action case.

"A 'race-blind' version of holistic review would also defeat the purpose of a truly individualized assessment for many applicants," the brief states. "It would be entirely antithetical to this approach to ignore a facet of an applicant's identity that may, to that individual, play an essential role in shaping his or her outlook and experience."

Stanford and the other universities argue that admissions decisions are protected under the First Amendment: "It would be an extraordinary infringement on universities' academic freedom to decree that institutions of higher education cannot consider race at all in seeking to obtain that diversity."

The other higher education institutions that are part of the amicus brief are: Brown University, Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis and Yale University.

There is no timeline for the judge's opinion on the Harvard case but national media outlets have reported that U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs may release an opinion in early 2019. Both sides have said they plan to appeal.

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Comments

38 people like this
Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Nov 6, 2018 at 7:12 am

Naturally, the racists that infest college admissions are shocked that their unethical and immoral discrimination may be a legal problem.


41 people like this
Posted by Is This a Whiner Legal Issue?
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 6, 2018 at 8:03 am

I was always under the impression that most colleges nowadays emphasize diversity in their admissions process. It would certainly appear that way considering the various ethnicities and nationalities usually seen on any given campus.

Is this issue one along the lines of every applicant deserves equal consideration but due to an increasing number of certain ethnic groups, some deserve added consideration (i.e. preferential treatment)?

Equal Opportunity is an ideal that always seem to pit one group against another.
It's like children complaining to their parents about favoritism of one over another.

Admissions protocols are what they are and not everyone gets accepted...just like applying for a job. Since most college-bound students apply to more than one school, why not ust be grateful for whatever college accepts you?

Not everyone can get into an Ivy League university and no one should expect an automatic acceptance based on their race and/or economic background. This also applies to minorities and the social underclasses as well. The exclusiveness of these upper-tier colleges is what gives them their eliteness and allure.

Ther is only so much room at the inn.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2018 at 11:39 am

Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside

>> Naturally, the racists that infest college admissions are shocked that their unethical and immoral discrimination may be a legal problem.

So, since you obviously think that you can do better than Harvard, what is -your- perfect admissions algorithm?


28 people like this
Posted by Things Getting Out of hand
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 6, 2018 at 1:56 pm

>>> accused Harvard in 2014 of discriminating against Asian-American applicants.

Is this complaint nothing more than a 'sour grapes' initiative? Not everyone can get into Harvard and I suspect that this measure is based on some sort of entitlement perspective.


6 people like this
Posted by 'sour grapes'
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 6, 2018 at 2:19 pm

> and I suspect

Thank you for sharing.

From the case - Harvard’s class of 2021:
- 14.6 percent African-American
- 22.2 percent Asian-American

US population:
- 12.6% African American
- 4.8% Asian


Should one race have a 4x over-representation?
10x?
20x?
100%?

What do your 'sour grapes' tell you?


33 people like this
Posted by Things Getting Out of hand
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 6, 2018 at 2:38 pm

> What do your 'sour grapes' tell you?

I should have been clearer...the 'sour grapes' are on the part of the Asian-American students who didn't get accepted to Harvard for one reason or another.

They are already well-represented at Harvard but apparently want more admissions to go in their favor.

What's so great about going to Harvard? There are a lot of other fine colleges and universities in the United States. Besides, it's what one accomplishes after college that matters most.




46 people like this
Posted by Carlos
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 6, 2018 at 8:53 pm

The problem with using race to determine someone's eligibility is that it penalizes all those hard working and smart kids who happen to have the wrong race. Racial quotas are inherently wrong, and will perpetuate stereotypes because it's sending the message that some races are inferior, and only some extra help from the admissions office will get them in.

Judge people based on their skills and accomplishments, and remember that equal opportunities never mean equal results. How would you feel when you find out that the surgeon that is about to operate on you got into college because of some racial quotas, at the expense of more qualified students from a wrong race?


1 person likes this
Posted by 'sour grapes'
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 6, 2018 at 9:25 pm

>Racial quotas are inherently wrong

Okay. But you didn't answer the question on the floor.

Harvard’s class of 2021:
- 14.6 percent African-American
- 22.2 percent Asian-American

US population:
- 12.6% African American
- 4.8% Asian


Should one race have a 4x over-representation?
10x?
20x?
100%?


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 6, 2018 at 10:10 pm

According to Harvard, they like high test scores (surprise!), specifically:

"The 25th percentile for admitted students on the SAT is about 1470; the 75th percentile is about 1570." Web Link

This NY Times article explains what the lawsuit has revealed about the "other" part of admissions, besides test scores: Web Link

Future applicants might want to note these two paragraphs from the article:

"For instance, he said this week, there had been huge increases in would-be engineers and computer scientists, but Harvard had to be wary of admitting too many, because “a whole bunch” of them “will end up happily ever after at M.I.T. or Caltech.”

" “One thing we always want is humanists,” Mr. Fitzsimmons said, adding that there were “fewer and fewer” of them."

The bottom line is that every admitted student is exceptional and, "We have to reject students who are exceptional."

"For everyone, the odds are long, as nearly 43,000 applicants sought spots in the Class of 2022 and just 2,024 received letters"


14 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 6, 2018 at 11:07 pm

Smacks of Tiger Moms: instructed by pseudo authorities that Harvard is “the best” and my kid must have “the best” even though Harvard is the richest, best advertised university, yes, and NOT even top ranked in every subject, naturally, and even the “rankings” are NOT absolute, these moms persist in their beliefs and sue.....they are insulted their kid is not in the club.
A few years ago widespread news reports covered easy A courses at Harvard. I guess it’s actually about perceived social standing really, isn’t it, rather than ultimate quality of instruction/education? There are lots of universities and colleges in this country and most of them have various strengths and merits. [Portion removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Nov 7, 2018 at 7:45 am

"Equal Opportunity is an ideal that always seem to pit one group against another."

So is racism. Given the anti-Asian racism that seems to permeate this forum, it is no surprise that some people here support discrimination in college admissions.

"It's like children complaining to their parents about favoritism of one over another."

The same could be said about civil rights protesters in the segregated South.

"Admissions protocols are what they are..."

The same thing could be said, and has been, about any objection to racism.


10 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Nov 7, 2018 at 7:56 am

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Trying to Comprehend
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 7, 2018 at 8:09 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Like this comment
Posted by film jedi
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 7, 2018 at 10:01 am

film jedi is a registered user.

[Post removed; off topic]


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2018 at 11:19 am

Posted by Kenny, a resident of University South

>> "Admissions protocols are what they are..."
>>
>> The same thing could be said, and has been, about any objection to racism.

See Anon posting above regarding admissions protocols. There is clearly a "branding" problem here, where the Harvard brand outstrips other considerations. Previous ethnic groups had a fascination with -Harvard Law- and -Harvard Medical School-, but, unlike the role of Harvard Law in -law-, Harvard College EECS is an also-ran compared to CMU, MIT, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. see e.g. Web Link

When engineering students get into Harvard College, do they then start to complain about -prejudice- because of the -Liberal Arts- focus of Harvard? Why not go to a top engineering school instead?


Posted by Trying to Comprehend, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland:

> Smacks of {etc}: instructed by pseudo authorities that Harvard is “the best”...
>> There are lots of universities and colleges in this country and most of them have various strengths and merits. But you can’t convince a status-seeking {etc}

>> Sounds like {etc] put undue pressure on everyone...their children to excel and the school systems to accomodate them.

Yes, what does happen to students who do get into Harvard College and discover that it isn't primarily an engineering school? Do they complain?

>> (2) Is a penchant for 'status' colleges similar to a desire for wearing designer labels and driving expensive cars?

>> Is this indicative of embracing a Veblen-oriented outlook?

In a word, "yes". Clearly there is more status associated with the Harvard -brand- in some quarters, despite the greater success of the local Stanford and UCB in this regard, not to mention CMU and MIT.


Like this comment
Posted by film jedi
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 7, 2018 at 11:12 pm

film jedi is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 8, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Alum is a registered user.

I find race as an explicit criteria for admissions selection to be inappropriate—it inherently puts other hardworking students at a disadvantage.

Looking at students' performance in the context of their socioeconomic status and available resources would be my preferred way to approach this. For example, a student who gets top of their class grades, takes the most rigorous courses their school offers, and shows a passion for something should be given a chance. By recruiting across the socioeconomic spectrum for people who took advantage of what they had available, I think that diversity would increase in the manner schools are looking for.

That said, because of the lack of transparency in college admissions processes, it's hard for us to judge whether what they are doing is right/wrong—we can only speculate based on the diversity data that is a result. I would like to believe that they are genuinely trying to give deserving students opportunities instead of meeting diversity quotas.


6 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 8, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Alum is a registered user.

And to comment on the Palo Alto "Harvard or bust" mentality:

There's no doubt that students set high standards for themselves and want to get into good schools because they've worked hard. But from my experiences as a student, most of the kids eventually come to the realization that Ivy League schools aren't everything.

Honestly the biggest issue is that certain parents are not familiar with the US university/college system. I don't need to beat a dead horse here, but that's honestly the first thing that's going to have to be addressed.


3 people like this
Posted by Christine C
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 8, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Christine C is a registered user.

@ Alum

I totally agree! considering socioeconomic status would be a point of reference that would help schools achieve the diversity and variety for which they hope.


Getting in to any of the "top-tier" colleges is not very likely and the schools should be able to select whom they choose. However, many students work and study so very hard, that to think it comes down to a low "personality score" seems not right.


10 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 8, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Affirmative Action was created to correct past discrimination of minority groups. Asian Americans have been discriminated in the past (for example, many Palo Alto properties had deed restrictions prohibiting sale to Asian Americans). Asian Americans and should be a beneficary of Affirmative Action, but instead Affirmative Action is being used to discriminate against Asian Americans, by creating a quota for admissions to Ivy league and selective colleges such as Stanford University.

Essentially, Stanford, Harvard, et al is telling Asian Americans that they are responsible for the past discriminatory behavior against other minority groups by enforcing their quota policies.

I would suggest that Stanford, Harvard, et al, forego any federal funded research projects, and forego their non-profit status and pay taxes like any for profit company - then they can choose any admission policy they want. Until they stop taking taxpayer benefits, they should stop discriminating against all minority groups, including Asian Americans.


28 people like this
Posted by Is This a Whiner Legal Issue?
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 8, 2018 at 6:38 pm

>...many students work and study so very hard, that to think it comes down to a low "personality score" seems not right.

True. Perhaps a supplemental test is needed to complete the application process.

How about something similar to that 'Survivor' TV show?

(1) Situate about 25 applicants (in teams of 5) and drop them off on some deserted island.
(2) Make them work and co-exist together for two weeks while foraging for food and shelter from the elements.
(3) Teamwork, cooperation, consideration towards others, and personality attributes would be critically tested and subject to evaluation by roving proctors.
(4) Personality score based on twofold inputs...(a) those of the team members and (b) that of the roving proctors.
(5) College acceptance based on GPA - SAT score - letters of recommendation -extracurricular activities + a 'survivor' score.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Posted by Alum, a resident of Palo Alto High School

>> But from my experiences as a student, most of the kids eventually come to the realization that Ivy League schools aren't everything.

>> Honestly the biggest issue is that certain parents are not familiar with the US university/college system. I don't need to beat a dead horse here, but that's honestly the first thing that's going to have to be addressed.

For students who are determined to make it in engineering-computer-science, the obsession with Harvard College, seems odd. MIT, CMU, UCB, and Stanford all rate higher. Three top internationally-known schools with a major emphasis on EECS are here in California -- UCB, Stanford, and Caltech, while most of the rest of the UC system has a very strong EECS presence, e.g., UCLA, UCSB, UCSD, UC Davis, UC Irvine, not to mention other non-UC schools such USC, Cal Poly SLO, Santa Clara, Harvey Mudd, and also UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz, etc. There are so many good EECS schools that are NOT Harvard.


55 people like this
Posted by Chinese Parent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 9, 2018 at 1:35 pm

> For students who are determined to make it in engineering-computer-science, the obsession with Harvard College, seems odd.

Harvard looks better on resumes and graduate school applications.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm


>> Harvard looks better on resumes and graduate school applications.

IOW, it isn't about education at all. This is all about -branding-.


10 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 9, 2018 at 5:50 pm

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: ...it isn't about education at all. This is all about -branding-.

Of course. Some people associate various 'brands' with superiority. For some, the 'brand' of college is no different than that of wearing a designer label, driving an imported car brand, dining at a fancy name restaurant or elite vacation venue.

We live in a shallow world but no one's forcing anyone to buy into it. That's their individual choice.


8 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 9, 2018 at 11:02 pm

Pride is the deadliest sin. Buy into it at your peril. Palo Alto is the epitome. Have mercy.


42 people like this
Posted by Chinese Parent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 10, 2018 at 2:07 pm

>> it isn't about education at all. This is all about -branding-.

Call it want you want. Just like better clothes often makes a better impression.

Getting into Harvard is a significanr goal. Anyone can get into Foothill College.


8 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 11, 2018 at 11:39 am

Alum is a registered user.

If you do a quick search for "schools that tech companies recruit at", or "best schools for working in Silicon Valley", all the lists include Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, CMU, UMich, Georgia Tech, etc near the top. So if I wanted to get a job at Google working in machine learning after college, it would seemingly make sense to try and go to one of those schools.

This is not to say you can't be successful with a Harvard education. Or a degree from SJSU or Foothill. But it's hard to make a substantiated claim that Ivy League schools are objectively better for all career paths because of the brand name, especially when longitudinal evidence says otherwise.


20 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2018 at 3:19 pm

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: But it's hard to make a substantiated claim that Ivy League schools are objectively better for all career paths because of the brand name, especially when longitudinal evidence says otherwise.

Absolutely. But many parents/students tend to overlook the fact that elite private colleges and universities are in essence a business and part of the 'sell job' is to promote an air of superiority over other institutions. It's essentially a money game.

Those who have worked in college Development Departments are also well aware of this marketing strategy as alleged school superiority and reputation factors are also promoted in order to get wealthy donors to contribute to these schools.




44 people like this
Posted by Wu Shen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 12, 2018 at 2:38 pm

>>> Getting into Harvard is a significant goal. Anyone can get into Foothill College.

What is wrong with wanting to go to Harvard? Makes parents proud. Foothill unacceptable though less expensive. We have money to pay for Harvard. All child have to do is study hard and have exceptional GPA.

Personality test not important. Go to college for education, not for making new friends.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2018 at 3:14 pm

Posted by Wu Shen, a resident of Charleston Meadows

>> >>> Getting into Harvard is a significant goal. Anyone can get into Foothill College.

>> What is wrong with wanting to go to Harvard?

In college, you will learn that this argument can be considered a "straw man": Web Link

>> Makes parents proud.

I don't care.

>> Foothill unacceptable though less expensive.

Foothill is a -significant goal- to some people, for example, who have learning disabilities, or, who are of average academic ability but can't afford a four-year college.

>> We have money to pay for Harvard.

Far more people have money to pay for Harvard than there are slots at Harvard. Harvard admits O(2000) students per year. About 3.6 Million students in the US graduate from High School every year. Do the arithmetic. By one measure, 2% are geniuses. The odds of your genius student getting in are low.

>> All child have to do is study hard and have exceptional GPA.

Actually, a child needs much more than that to get into Harvard. -Every- admitted student, and, most applications, are for academically -exceptional- students already. You have to be exceptional to seriously apply. Harvard wants more than mere academic excellence-- read the posted links.

>> Personality test not important.

I'm not aware of any colleges that use personality -tests- directly, but, personality is important to most selective schools including Harvard. Harvard is a private institution-- they get to decide if personality is important. BTW, many colleges consider extracurricular activities to be important, both for their own sake, and, as a proxy for "personality".

>> Go to college for education, not for making new friends.

Actually, many colleges consider that both social activity and academics are important parts of "education". As, indeed, is also true of many jobs once students graduate.


33 people like this
Posted by Chinese Parent
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 13, 2018 at 3:42 pm

>> Go to college for education, not for making new friends.

Going to parties is not important. Too much drinking which is why most Chinese parents do not endorse colleges like Chico State.


2 people like this
Posted by Really?
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 13, 2018 at 4:07 pm

Really? is a registered user.

So Chinese Parent, you really don’t believe partying goes on in the Ivy League? You are so mistaken on that.


45 people like this
Posted by The Chinese Take Education Seriously
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 13, 2018 at 5:27 pm

> So Chinese Parent, you really don’t believe partying goes on in the Ivy League? You are so mistaken on that.

Of course partying goes on in the Ivy League. But most Chinese college students are way too industrious and focused on academics to be drawn into this extracurricular pastime. One reason they tend to perform better academically + getting drunk and acting like an ass is not in their nature.

Events like Spring Break festivities are for the buffoons who pretend they are attending college (usually on their parent's dollar).

BTW, I am not Chinese...just a witness and I respect their dedication to academics and vocational aspirations.


35 people like this
Posted by Wu Shen
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 14, 2018 at 2:23 pm

>...getting drunk and acting like an ass is not in their nature.
>> Events like Spring Break festivities are for the buffoons who pretend they are attending college...
>>>...most Chinese parents do not endorse colleges like Chico State.

Chinese students don't do this. Waste of money and sign of stupidity. College is for getting an education not getting drunk.


4 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 14, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Alum is a registered user.

I'm a college student and I keep in touch with some friends from Paly. A lot of people drink, they probably just don't all tell their parents. Especially when that's where their funding is coming from.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2018 at 9:55 am

Posted by Wu Shen, a resident of Charleston Gardens

>> >>>...most Chinese parents do not endorse colleges like Chico State.

Quite a few successful people have gone to Chico State, San Diego State, etc. Check Wikipedia on these schools-- if you care. Education begins with the student. Education is what the student makes of it.

>> Chinese students don't do this. Waste of money and sign of stupidity. College is for getting an education not getting drunk.

If your student is a genius nerd planning a tech career, MIT, CMU, and CalTech are more appropriate than Harvard. Weird how obsessed everyone is with Harvard right now. If you wanted a car that goes 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, you wouldn't buy a Jeep Wrangler, and, if you wanted a car to bouncing over rocky backcountry roads, you wouldn't buy a Tesla. Would you? Harvard is appropriate for some people for their educational requirements, while CMU is appropriate for others. And, Chico State is also appropriate for some, as is Foothill.


25 people like this
Posted by Wu Shen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 15, 2018 at 3:18 pm

> Harvard looks better on resumes and graduate school applications.

For later acceptance to elite medical school. Going to Stanford as an undergraduate is also OK.

Few doctors go to Chico State. Mostly future school teachers and gym coaches. OK for that.


12 people like this
Posted by The Chinese Take Education Seriously
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 15, 2018 at 6:58 pm

>Harvard looks better on resumes and graduate school applications.
>>Getting into Harvard is a significant goal. Anyone can get into Foothill College.
>>>All child have to do is study hard and have exceptional GPA.
>>>>Going to parties is not important.
>>>>>College is for getting an education not getting drunk.
>>>>>>...later acceptance to elite medical school. Going to Stanford as an undergraduate is also OK. Few doctors go to Chico State.

These past comments pretty much sums it up. While some American parents may share similar sentiments towards a college education, many do not.

Having fun in college is not of primary concern to Chinese parents and students. It is a mission or viable means to an end...not a self-discovery journey but rather a vocational stepping stone to higher achievement and financial rewards.

As a result, countless Chinese MDs will probably be buying their morning coffee from some college graduate who majored in the humanities (and was 'enlightened' by various books) but now working for minimum wage after having moved back in with his/her parents. Afterall, housing is expensive in PA and the folks still reside in one of the neighborhoods.






2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2018 at 2:40 pm

>> Posted by The Chinese Take Education Seriously, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

A note on your name/posting title: many people of many ethnicities take education seriously. Some "Chinese" (is that Chinese nationals? Chinese ethnicity? whatever) also take education seriously. Do WASP-Americans take education less seriously, on average, than "Chinese"? Maybe-- I don't have any statistics on that. Do you? Doesn't matter anyway-- successful students of all ethnicities at top educational institutions "take education seriously".

>Harvard looks better on resumes and graduate school applications.
>>Getting into Harvard is a significant goal. Anyone can get into Foothill College.
>>>All child have to do is study hard and have exceptional GPA.
>>>>Going to parties is not important.
>>>>>College is for getting an education not getting drunk.
>>>>>>...later acceptance to elite medical school. Going to Stanford as an undergraduate is also OK. Few doctors go to Chico State.

>> Having fun in college is not of primary concern to Chinese parents and students.

You are setting up a false dichotomy. And, while I'm not sure how medical school admissions work today, back in the postwar period (by my definition 1946-1981) medical school admissions generally discriminated against what are now referred to as "nerds" -- that is, they wanted smart people, but, they also wanted those smart people to have social skills. (You might note the popular "britcom" -Doc Martin- featuring the remarkably skilled, very socially inept Doctor; the early jokes were about his lack of "bedside manner".) "Social skills" and "personality" are fuzzy, but, generally, back then, they preferred geniuses with social skills to super-geniuses without social skills.

>> It is a mission or viable means to an end...not a self-discovery journey but rather a vocational stepping stone to higher achievement and financial rewards.

"Education" could indeed include self-discovery. "Training", no matter how detailed, could be a dead-end to a shallow life-- unless the doctor, for example, has found her or his true -vocation-.

>> As a result, countless Chinese MDs will probably be buying their morning coffee from some college graduate who majored in the humanities

False dichotomy again. A successful doctor will be a "genius", to get through med school and stay current, and also, socially adept, to interact successfully with patients, other doctors, and staff. And (sigh), insurance companies ...

You might wonder why I care about this issue, but, it keeps cropping up in various contexts. The fact is, once your IQ is high enough to win a Nobel Prize, other factors become more important: social IQ, creativity, humor, empathy. Just focusing on higher and higher IQ and/or achievement scores is a serious -error-. Test scores are a means to an end.

In the context of the Harvard/Stanford/etc controversy, educational institutions have a right to select students based on broader criteria than just higher test scores.

(P.S. Not a doctor, but, I know quite a few from the postwar period.)


25 people like this
Posted by Wu Shen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 16, 2018 at 2:56 pm

My brother is cardiologist. No bedside manner like TV doctors. If patient is dying, he says so. Why create false hope? Then on to next patient.

If condition is fixable, he also says so. If not, too bad.

Time is money. Just like lawyer.


29 people like this
Posted by Lei Ping
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 16, 2018 at 7:35 pm

> "Training", no matter how detailed, could be a dead-end to a shallow life--

So judgmental. Shallow life with money is better than empty life with no money.


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 16, 2018 at 11:03 pm

^ "Shallow life with money is better than empty life with no money."

Yes indeed, generates much better tax receipts.


25 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 17, 2018 at 8:47 am

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: Shallow life with money is better than empty life with no money.

Makes sense to me. There are many who have embraced this philosophy and most of them are doing quite well.

When it comes to the temporal universe, being 'deep' is highly overrated...especially when one is broke.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2018 at 10:37 am

Posted by Lei Ping, a resident of Charleston Meadows

>> So judgmental. Shallow life with money is better than empty life with no money.


Posted by R.Davis, a resident of Crescent Park

>> Makes sense to me. There are many who have embraced this philosophy and most of them are doing quite well.

So, everyone is agreed: all other things being equal, it is good for people to make a living. No argument.

This does not justify, however, why Harvard, a private university, should be obligated to change its Harvard College undergraduate admissions process to accommodate anyone's training desires.


19 people like this
Posted by Wu Shen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 17, 2018 at 1:21 pm

> This does not justify, however, why Harvard, a private university, should be obligated to change its Harvard College undergraduate admissions process to accommodate anyone's training desires.

But if Chinese applicant or any other applicant is more qualified to attend Harvard based on GPA and SAT, they should automatically be accepted with no exceptions made for others with lower grades, test scores or personality criteria..

Many white people do not approve of Affirmative Action. Neither do Chinese parents whose children study hard to make the grade.


4 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 17, 2018 at 1:51 pm

Alum is a registered user.

@Wu Shen—that is the difference between purely numbers-based admissions and what the colleges call holistic admissions. Personally I think the latter makes a lot more sense, because even the smartest, most qualified kid could have had a bad day on the SAT and scored 20 points lower. But they may have been successful in other academic or entrepreneurial ventures.

Private universities like Harvard and Stanford are looking for people who will take their education and use it to change the world. Those people tend to have very high stats, but they aren't going to change the world by taking more standardized tests.


12 people like this
Posted by Wu Shen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 17, 2018 at 2:07 pm

>...even the smartest, most qualified kid could have had a bad day on the SAT and scored 20 points lower.

Then take the test over again and score better. If the results are the same or lower, no more excuses for having a bad day.

>>...what the colleges call holistic admissions.

Holistic evaluation is purely subjective and not accurate assessment of student's ability to perform well. Only good for clever writer or pathological liar.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2018 at 2:11 pm

Posted by Wu Shen, a resident of Charleston Meadows

>> > This does not justify, however, why Harvard, a private university, should be obligated to change its Harvard College undergraduate admissions process to accommodate anyone's training desires.

>> But if Chinese applicant or any other applicant is more qualified to attend Harvard based on GPA and SAT, they should automatically be accepted with no exceptions made for others with lower grades, test scores or personality criteria..

GPA is not comparable school-to-school in the U.S.-- schools are controlled locally, and, there are no real standards for grades. That leaves us with SAT or other standardized tests. So, you want Harvard (just Harvard, or, every school?) to use only standardized tests for admissions, is that correct?

-Why?-

Read the following article:

Web Link

Note this:

"For instance, he said this week, there had been huge increases in would-be engineers and computer scientists, but Harvard had to be wary of admitting too many, because “a whole bunch” of them “will end up happily ever after at M.I.T. or Caltech.”

"“One thing we always want is humanists,” Mr. Fitzsimmons said, adding that there were “fewer and fewer” of them."

Note the word "humanists". Harvard is a private institution that openly states that it favors "humanists".

-You- want Harvard to become MIT or Caltech. But, Harvard, a -private- institution, doesn't want to become MIT or Caltech. Who are -you- to demand that one of the most successful -educational- institutions in the world follow your particular choice of admissions process?

What makes you think Harvard accepts students who don't study hard? Harvard believes that every student they accept is exceptional. Why do you think that you know better than Harvard who to accept?


17 people like this
Posted by Wu Shen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 17, 2018 at 2:31 pm

> Note the word "humanists". Harvard is a private institution that openly states that it favors "humanists".

Humanist is highly overrated criteria. Too subjective. Everyone thinks they're a humanist. Not true. Talk is cheap.

> You- want Harvard to become MIT or Caltech. But, Harvard, a -private- institution, doesn't want to become MIT or Caltech. Who are -you- to demand that one of the most successful -educational- institutions in the world follow your particular choice of admissions process?

Because we pay tuition and if enough students declare a specific major, then school must accommodate their needs. Also same for donors. Donations to school go for specific fields and then school expands. Same everywhere...like Stanford.

Stanford is a good engineering and medical school. Less 'humanists' and more doctors and scientists improve the world through technology. Many humanists just write books and read. Anyone can read a book in their spare time.


2 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 17, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Alum is a registered user.

By that logic (that SAT and GPA should be the only factors in college admissions), there's no reason to do anything like competitive math, SciOly, USACO, robotics, debate, etc, and success in any of those activities is meaningless. That doesn't seem true. Why would so many parents be pushing for their students to do those to get into top schools?


6 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Alum is a registered user.

Also, if Harvard wants to do holistic review and accept future humanists, that's their prerogative. It's one of the perks of being a private school—anyone who disagrees with their choices as an institution can just take their money elsewhere.

This comes full circle to the idea that Harvard and the other Ivy League schools are not the "ultimate" school to be successful. The Ivy League brand name is intertwined with the idea of producing well-rounded scholarly graduates—if that's not your definition of success, maybe another school is better for you.


19 people like this
Posted by Lei Ping
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 17, 2018 at 5:19 pm

> if Harvard wants to do holistic review and accept future humanists, that's their prerogative. It's one of the perks of being a private school—anyone who disagrees with their choices as an institution can just take their money elsewhere.

OK...but taxpayer colleges like UC have no right to use such standards. We pay taxes and tuition for education not holistic nonsence.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2018 at 6:08 pm

Posted by Lei Ping, a resident of Charleston Meadows

>> OK...but taxpayer colleges like UC have no right to use such standards.

You will be happy to know, then, that the UC statewide criteria for admission use a sliding scale that allows people with top SAT scores to enter with a GPA as low as 3.0.

Web Link

Of course, you may not get in to UCB or UCLA with such a low GPA and nothing else going for you.

>> We pay taxes and tuition for education not holistic nonsence.

I imagine that you know someone who has some level of colorblindness, correct? (Perhaps even yourself?) Someone tells you that the difference between two shades of greenish brown is -obvious- to them, but, you can't see it. Do you believe that the color difference is "nonsense"? Consider instead that -you- might be missing something.


15 people like this
Posted by Lei Ping
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 17, 2018 at 6:21 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2018 at 10:51 pm

Alum @ Palo Alto High School write "... The Ivy League brand name is intertwined with the idea of producing well-rounded scholarly graduates—if that's not your definition of success, maybe another school is better for you."

The issue is more than applicants finding another college; Harvard receives Federal Grants, and there are students who attend Harvard receive Federal money (Pell grants), and is therefore a taxpayer funded school. There should be a ban on Harvard receiving any Federal money at all for it's discriminatory policies.


3 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 17, 2018 at 11:51 pm

Alum is a registered user.

Let's be sure to separate holistic review from affirmative action.

Holistic review has to do with the idea that GPA and SAT/ACT score are not the only metrics of intellectual success. While some form of holistic review is used by most top schools, Ivy League and premier private universities are known for emphasizing it as an integral part of their admissions process.

Affirmative action (the first topic of discussion in earlier comments) is when a college gives an advantage to students of a certain ethnicity, gender, etc.

It it entirely possible to support holistic review but disagree with affirmative action.


23 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 18, 2018 at 8:58 am

R.Davis is a registered user.

QUOTE: No bedside manner like TV doctors...Time is money. Just like lawyer.

The days of the friendly, caring family GP and the likes of Marcus Welby, MD are seemingly long gone. That was a generation ago and there is no going back.

Today it's all about billable hours and clinics track the overall 'productivity' of their physicians...similar to a law firm. Appointments are more tightly scheduled and a certain personal 'connection' with one's physician has diminished due to these constraints.

The world has gotten colder and W. Shen is somewhat accurate in his assessment of the medical profession along with L. Ping's approach to becoming an MD. The competition is fierce and an academic pedigree from a world renowned university is highly valued among some parents and students as a viable means to the next step/stage...in this case, medical school.

What is more disconcerting is the pressure that some parents may be putting on their children to achieve this goal. I suspect that there are and will be MDs who never really wanted to be a doctor but pursued the profession for purely financial and/or prestigious reasons and this is where the humanist/holistic considerations come into key play. A proficient doctor needs to have some 'bedside manner' and a certain degree of 'hand-holding' is sometimes required to ease their patient's worries & concerns...all of which is paramount to the pursuit and maintenance of good health in general.






11 people like this
Posted by The Limitations of Being Holistic
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 18, 2018 at 9:19 am

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 18, 2018 at 11:13 am

Alum is a registered user.

One of the fundamental skills of being a lawyer is argument. I don't see that tested anywhere in the SAT or ACT, besides the essay... and well that is a mediocre metric at best. The holistic approach you speak negatively of would consider a student's debate team performance for example—seemingly a much better gauge of who would be a good lawyer. Note that this example doesn't quite work since there isn't a specific law undergrad degree, but the idea applies.

Many here seem to misunderstand holistic admissions process — it's not selecting more capable and less capable people, it's about using a variety of metrics to get a more accurate picture of capability.

Sidenote: As has been mentioned above, GPA varies between school districts significantly. Palo Alto high schools have some of the hardest classes, and based on how pathways are set up here, the same caliber students take less APs compared to a number of other good school districts. So it surprises me that Palo Alto residents would be against a holistic approach, when the metric of GPA puts their students at a disadvantage.


12 people like this
Posted by Wu Shen
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 18, 2018 at 12:14 pm

Depends on what holistic approach actually measures. Abstractions are not conclusive.
Guessing games not scientific.


9 people like this
Posted by R.Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 19, 2018 at 9:14 am

R.Davis is a registered user.

[Post removed.]




6 people like this
Posted by Old Paly Dad
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 20, 2018 at 9:00 am

Old Paly Dad is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Resident MD
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 20, 2018 at 9:35 am

[Post removed; off topic]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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