Students should not lie about race on college applications in order to receive advantages

Sowmya Chundi

This past October, as part of the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, Marjorie Klapper was sentenced to three weeks in prison for falsely claiming her son was African-American and Hispanic to increase his chances of getting into a top college. The case caused an outcry from minorities and non-minorities alike because Klapper’s case exemplifies how common falsification on college applications is. This story serves to illustrate a larger problem: people using race as an “advantage” to help them in college admissions.

College applications require a student to mark their race in order to make decisions for financial aid and admissions. Policies like affirmative action cherish diversity and put people who are not of Caucasian descent ahead of others in order to compensate for past discrimination. But what began as a harmless path to ethnic equality has turned into students lying about race on applications in order to receive an advantage.

The recent Harvard v. SFFA Supreme Court case found the college’s race conscious admissions process doesn’t intentionally discriminate against Asian-American applicants; however, data from a 2009 Princeton study proves Asian Americans had to score 140 points higher on their SATs than Caucasians, 270 points higher than Hispanics and 450 points higher than African Americans to have the same chances at admission. This means because of policies like affirmative action, the admission standards for Asian-Americans are considerably higher than the standards for other minorities.

Honestly, the college admissions process would be easier if I “accidentally” marked myself as American Indian rather than Asian. But if people change their race for better chances at college admissions, they’re ultimately stealing a seat from someone who’s already fighting for an admission to an elite school.

While affirmative action may not benefit a person like me, it does benefit minorities who have had fewer opportunities and been discriminated against in the past. I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not just to get an advantage I don’t deserve. If a person is qualified to get into a college and deserves it, then they won’t have to lie about race or twist the truth to make it in.

There’s an even greater underlying problem when it comes to college admissions and similar scandals. People are so inclined to cheat their way into colleges because they think it’s the final destination. But once they take a step back, it becomes clear that college is just a stepping stone and doesn’t determine their whole future.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Sowmya Chundi at [email protected]

Learn more about the Operation Varsity Blues college scandal here.