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From: Stephen Ray (e-mail him)
According to a recent story in the Dallas Morning News about Amy Chyao, An American-born Chinese girl who won $75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in San Jose, California:
"In her spare time, Amy [Chyao] teaches spelling to youths and plays the cello in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra.
"Awaiting her return home, she said, are the Advanced Placement tests she has to make up. Asked what she might do with her newfound $75,000, she said, 'I think I'll save it for college.'
"Amy said she plans to study chemistry and hopes to attend Harvard University. 'If they let me in,' she said." [Richardson Teen Wins Top Prize at Intel's National Science Fair, by Jana Martin, Dallas Morning News, May 15, 2010]
You laugh, but there's a good chance Harvard will not accept her.
After all, Chyao is not black, Puerto Rican, Mexican or an American Indian. If she were any of those ethnicities, then Harvard would accept Chyao even if she had 956 on her combined SATs.
Has Chyao written the obligatory essay for Harvard? You know—the one about "overcoming adversity"?
For example, if she Chyao were Hispanic she could fictionalize her biography by writing about overcoming poverty and her parents' illiteracy. An African-American candidate could exaggerate about growing up around crack dens. And of course, Puerto Rican applicants can always be a "wise Latina" like Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Along the way, someone on Harvard's admissions committee will mention that Chyao's parents are immigrants who "strengthen" America without ever acknowledging that her family is the exception and not the rule.