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Does being an ethnic minority help you get into law school?

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2 hours ago, Eeee said:

It's not "pondered." From the discovery in the HUG lawsuit (or simply looking at the class composition of schools that don't practice AA like Caltech) it is grossly weighted against Asians.  

Isn't California, especially Pasadena disproportionately Asian compared to other states/cities?  I believe Asians at Harvard are more represented that there numbers in the general population of the USA and Mass.  How did you come to the conclusion it is grossly weighted against Asians? Do you mean in an implicit way or an explicit way?

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Iyaiaey said:

Isn't California, especially Pasadena disproportionately Asian compared to other states/cities?  I believe Asians at Harvard are more represented that there numbers in the general population of the USA and Mass.  How did you come to the conclusion it is grossly weighted against Asians? Do you mean in an implicit way or an explicit way?

Asian students need a higher SAT score and better cGPA to be admitted to elite colleges, but the admission officers can claim the admission is holistic and academic performance is just one factor.

By the way, Asians are under-represented in legal profession in Canada, but I do not think being Asian increases the possibility of being admitted to law school. 

Edited by Franknku
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49 minutes ago, Franknku said:

Asian students need a higher SAT score and better cGPA to be admitted to elite colleges, but the admission officers can claim the admission is holistic and academic performance is just one factor.

By the way, Asians are under-represented in legal profession in Canada, but I do not think being Asian increases the possibility of being admitted to law school. 

O sorry, I thought this was a US law school discussion because op used the term URM.

 

But don't elite schools use holistic factors, so how do we know they need higher SAT scores and better GPA?  The only school I found that released the data was the U of Texas case but there were no Asians in the figures.  There are more people with perfect or near perfect GPAs or SAT and ACT scores than spots available at Harvard on that fact alone doesn't it have to be holistic?  The UT case showed

Quote

"Although one African-American and four Latino applicants with lower combined academic and personal achievement scores than Ms. Fisher’s were provisionally admitted, so were 42 white applicants whose scores were identical to or lower than hers. Similarly, 168 black and Latino students with academic and personal achievement profiles that were as good as, or better than, Ms. Fisher’s were also denied, according to the university," Elise Boddie, a law professor at Rutgers, wrote in the New York Times this week.  

https://www.ibtimes.com/who-abigail-fisher-facts-about-2015-supreme-court-affirmative-action-case-2216026

 I am wondering if it is the large number of alumni children, dean's lists and donor kids filling the spots maybe?

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10 minutes ago, Iyaiaey said:

O sorry, I thought this was a US law school discussion because op used the term URM.

 

But don't elite schools use holistic factors, so how do we know they need higher SAT scores and better GPA?  The only school I found that released the data was the U of Texas case but there were no Asians in the figures.  There are more people with perfect or near perfect GPAs or SAT and ACT scores than spots available at Harvard on that fact alone doesn't it have to be holistic?  The UT case showed

 I am wondering if it is the large number of alumni children, dean's lists and donor kids filling the spots maybe?

The complaint re:Asians (which is being manipulated by an anti-affirmative action crusader and not supported by all Asians so take with a grain of salt) is that the holistic factors other than grades contain implicit bias. Which I am sure is true, but not uniquely toward Asians. 

The last stat I saw was that 30% of Harvard’s admissions are legacy admits. Not sure how that translates to law admissions.

The other thing to consider is that as a minority it is not uncommon to have or assumed and be asked/told that you were admitted as an affirmative action candidate through access, special consideration etc rather than on academic merit, so that you are seen as less intelligent/capable, and this assumption will follow you into practice for years. So comments/questions like the OP’s can be unhelpful. (Maddeningly, I bet there are way more spurious claims by white people that they should be access because they had to work in undergrad, their great-uncle died in first year or they wrote the LSAT with a cold, than there are claims that a person deserves admission because of their race.)

 

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10 hours ago, providence said:

But what does “better chance than the average” even mean? Average white person? Average stats? What is being compared here? How would you know if someone got in due to their race?

I don't think that's being particularly fair to OP. 

What OP seems to be asking is whether Canada is like the US, where there is a widely known combination of GPA/LSAT to usually get into a given school for "non-diverse" or "general" applicants, and then a markedly lower (and usually more variable) combination needed for candidates who are considered "diverse". To be clear, I am not taking a position on this practice. But it's a fact. 

This might matter, because if the same occured in Canada, the numbers being given for admission for a given school might be primarily from the first category and accordingly misleading for a candidate from the second. Accordingly, it is, in my view, entirely reasonable to ask this question. 

As others on this board have answered, the answer is generally no. There is no obvious form of affirmative action in Canada such that a given GPA/LSAT is strong if you are of one ethnicity and weak if you are another like a 3.8/169 would be for Harvard admissions. There are separate access categories and within them, usually categories for Indigenous applicants. The practice here varies from school to school much more than in the US and it is best to seek specific information from those who know about a particular school's process. 
 

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1 hour ago, providence said:

The complaint re:Asians (which is being manipulated by an anti-affirmative action crusader and not supported by all Asians so take with a grain of salt) is that the holistic factors other than grades contain implicit bias. Which I am sure is true, but not uniquely toward Asians. 

The last stat I saw was that 30% of Harvard’s admissions are legacy admits. Not sure how that translates to law admissions.

The other thing to consider is that as a minority it is not uncommon to have or assumed and be asked/told that you were admitted as an affirmative action candidate through access, special consideration etc rather than on academic merit, so that you are seen as less intelligent/capable, and this assumption will follow you into practice for years. So comments/questions like the OP’s can be unhelpful. (Maddeningly, I bet there are way more spurious claims by white people that they should be access because they had to work in undergrad, their great-uncle died in first year or they wrote the LSAT with a cold, than there are claims that a person deserves admission because of their race.)

 

I'm trying to view this through a reasonable lens. I guess a question I have is do all Harvard undergrad applicants just get lumped into one giant pool irrespective of their previous courses?  Ie. can someone who never even taken a physics course apply for their physics program? Can someone with no courses or significant background in music, dance or theatre gain entrance to those respective programs? etc.

I highly doubt a math focused kid is going to be applying to the dance program at Harvard.  Obviously Harvard has an obligation to at least try to FILL the spots for the programs they already run right?  So what happens if you get 3000 Asians with near perfect scores applying to the same math, asian studies and number heavy science programs but few applying to dance, history, environmental studies, classics, gender studies, linguistics, art history, Germanic Languages, Folklore and Mythology and Slavic Languages?

 

Wouldn't that make it look like you need a higher gpa/sat to get into those programs compared to Slavic languages or folklore and myths which are likely caucasian dominated in applications even though its not necessarily discrimination?

 

The more I think about this, without having numbers for a specific program, the harder this seems to be to prove.

How do we know that the people with lower grades than Asians (and I am presuming this is true without seeing any evidence for argument sake) are just not applying into different programs or disproportionately fill the ranks of non-academic merit spots (alumni children, donors kids, dean's list, celebs, student athletes, etc.)?

 

I'm trying to view this in context.  My friend went to Schulich School of Business, you need around a 90 average coming out of high school to gain entrance.  My other friends did art at york, he had a high 60s average the other one having a mid 70s average and did a degree in classics.  I guess I am trying to say I have trouble understanding how you can just lump all those programs together with different interest, average it out and say x-group needs "more gpa" to get into the same university.  By that logic, someone with a 85 average could apply to York, get rejected from the business program, turn around and claim discrimination because on average he had higher grades than my friends who got in with lower grades.

 

I don't know if I am missing part of their argument.

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The silly thing about the litigation is that it’s trying to artificially separate one group’s grievance from the whole mess. The fact is that there are more people of some races with the stats for Harvard than Harvard can admit, and other races where it is nearly impossible to get Harvard stats, due to systemic and socio-economic factors. So there has to be a weeding-out using more subjective factors, and whatever they use, human bias is going to come through and someone is going to be unhappy. The metrics this group wants used reflects their values and abilities but may be unfair to another group. The 30% legacy admits and general class bias in Harvard admissions is a much bigger problem than a black kid getting a bit of a break on their SAT score so they can get in. 

The same is true of Canadian law schools - there are lots of people around the average or median grades who won’t get in because there aren’t enough spots for them. One of my profs once said you could probably pick applicants by tossing a coin and the strength of the class would not change.  So some people assume minorities are getting their spots or they are being discriminated against due to their race or whatever. Now the problem is that you will see fewer people from certain underrepresented groups having those median stats, so there are less to pick from when it comes to admissions. 

That was why the original question didn’t make sense to me. If you are indigenous or black in Canada, chances are that due to the educational experiences you’ve already had, you have a greater chance of having lower grades, lower LSAT and less awesome softs. So you have less chance of being admitted, and schools asking you to declare your race are trying to see if there is any way they can make allowances for the reasons your stats may be lower, just like all the white kids who claim they have disabilities, mental health etc ask for. And just like those people don’t magically get in unless they can demonstrate that they will succeed when they do, neither do minorities. Ticking off that you are black isn’t going to overcome a 2.5 GPA and 145 LSAT. 

I know many, many people who were either indigenous or black who have tried to get into law schools, and very few of them actually have. Some of them thought their race was a golden ticket and it wasn’t. 

As I said, there’s nothing more galling than getting a better LSAT score and GPA than most of your class and then getting repeatedly asked if you were access as if that is an easy ticket into law school. 

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Posted (edited)

In Canada, at least at one law school (Western), the bar is lowered for Aboriginals. From the Western website: "A competitive candidate in the Aboriginal category will have an overall average of B+ (78% / 3.3 GPA) and an LSAT score above the 60th percentile. " I can't remember what 60th percentile is, but I think it's around a 153. Clearly, being an ethnic minority would help in this sense. I would imagine (but am too lazy to do the research) that other schools follow through with this practice. 

Marks and LSAT score are not the only places where admissions can be easier. I know people who stated their race and gender on their personal statements and cited hardships they had faced (on the basis of race/gender) in order to make their applications more competitive. Whether the schools took this into account is up for debate. 

Edited by thominator12

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3 minutes ago, thominator12 said:

In Canada, at least at one law school (Western), the bar is lowered for Aboriginals. From the Western website: "A competitive candidate in the Aboriginal category will have an overall average of B+ (78% / 3.3 GPA) and an LSAT score above the 60th percentile. " I can't remember what 60th percentile is, but I think it's around a 153. Clearly, being an ethnic minority would help in this sense. I would imagine (but am too lazy to do the research) that other schools follow through with this practice. 

Marks and LSAT score are not the only places where admissions can be easier. I know people who stated their race and gender on their personal statements and cited hardships they had faced (on the basis of race/gender) in order to make their applications more competitive. Whether the schools took this into account is up for debate. 

But you’re missing how much more difficult it is to get B+ and 153 when you come from a reserve with schools full of mold that can’t retain teachers, you have to leave your community for high school, your family is dealing with the fallout from residential schools, you are unprepared for university due to all of this, the test itself has biases, etc etc. So how  can it be easier? A white suburban person’s 153 is not the same as the 153 of many (not all) indigenous people. I know some schools struggle to fill their “aboriginal” spots or do not fill them all sone years. 

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15 hours ago, providence said:

Actually, I’m not offended nor am I trying to bait anyone, but I’m glad you’re in my head to tell me otherwise. 

Nor is this the “flip side” of asking if white privilege is real. It’s the exact same thing. Someone asking if being a minority is an advantage in applying to law school is basically asking not only whether white privilege does not exist, but whether there is “brown privilege.” You can only ask this question if you ignore all the data about systemic disadvantages and underrepresentation (the above poster used US stats, but there are plenty of Canadian ones.) “Does white privilege exist” is basically the question “Is racism a thing?” “Are there advantages for minorities applying to law school?” basically means “Are there disadvantages for white people applying?”

If there is systemic discrimination against people of colour, ergo, white people have advantages. If there wasn’t such discrimination, schools wouldn’t ask for your race. They ask because certain groups are disadvantaged in educational opportunities and outcomes, test scores, ECs etc and they are trying to level the playing field. The fact they are still asking obviously means it isn’t level yet. The Asians at Harvard and other US issues have less relevance here, but I would agree that certain groups are less disadvantaged than others and therefore better represented. 

 

I knew this topic would go nowhere good as soon as I called out what I called out, but before I go any further let me point out something that providence has, probably unintentionally, managed to obscure. I have no idea what perspective the OP was asking his or her question from. Providence seems to have concluded preemptively that it's from the perspective of lightly disguised racism - basically a disgruntled white applicant saying "am I getting screwed by visible minorities getting in before me?" I read the question as being equally consistent with someone who is themself a visible minority, with on-the-line stats and not yet admitted anywhere (and note, I know for sure the OP has on-the-line stats and is not yet admitted anywhere) angsting about whether this or that might push them over the edge.

Again, I repeat that I truly and genuinely have no idea which it is. I lean towards the later interpretation, but I don't know for sure. And I don't want to know. Because if I knew it was the former, I'd have not bothered saying anything at all - not because what I say is any less true in either scenario, but because I'd rather not get intentionally involved when someone starts a thread with racist intent. But the ambiguity is helpful here, because it exposes the stupidity I'm trying to put my finger on, now.

No one, no one and certainly not me, is saying that every form of affirmative corrective behavior is somehow evidence of "brown privilege." I find it utterly hilarious that you can lead with one sentence, complaining that I know what you are thinking (and then spend a page confirming that I was exactly right, btw) and then in the very next paragraph tell me that you know the OP was positing "brown privilege" when I still believe they are themselves a visible minority just trying to gauge their odds of admission at this point. Leaving all that aside though, it's not the divergent philosophy that's driving me crazy - it's just the bloody illogic!

The OP asked a straight-up question. And your reply is not "yes, this happens" or "no, this doesn't happen." It's "how dare you even ask if this happens because asking if it happens is racist" followed shortly by "well, yes, it happens, but here's why it happens and even though I'm telling you now that it happens I also need to lecture you on why we're never ever supposed to admit that it happens because that's racist." And you seriously think this makes sense?

If the OP asked "are there any scholarships for law students coming from a racialized background?" would you have had the same reaction? That's a factual question - the answer is either "yes" or "no." The question of whether admissions standards are eased to any degree for racialized applicants is also a "yes" or "no" question. In both scenarios, the reasons why there are both scholarships (at least a few) and potentially at least some consideration at admissions (I honestly don't even know at most schools - I don't anyone does for sure) is the same. Of course it speaks to historical disadvantage. Of course it is corrective, and not some form of global, "brown privilege." And of course all the other stuff you may choose to lecture me on next.

All that aside, asking a factual question is not by itself offensive. And your drummed up indignation is ridiculous. I have absolutely no problem with "affirmative action" in various forms, though the name itself has gotten a bad rap of late, which is why I put it in quotations. I do have a problem with any program or policy, however, that suggests we're going to do things one way and then call anyone racist who wants to know how or why things work that way. Any policy, any policy, that can't be defended rationally and honestly is a problem, by definition. And again, for absolute clarity, I'm not saying the policy is the problem here. I'm saying your belief that it can't even be talked about honestly is the problem.

Right. Now you can all go back to proving the existence of historical privilege (which the OP never questioned or denied, and which I certainly never questioned or denied) and acting as though by lecturing us all on that topic you've somehow proved something. But all you've really proved is that you can't see a simple question for what it was.

Final note. I still think the OP's question is stupid, because I think that agonizing over every little marginal thing that may or may not affect your application is stupid. But there's plenty of stupidity on this site that isn't racist. And this was just part of the great sea of it.

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I actually did not assume anything, @Diplock. OP could be a minority hoping to have a leg-up. I have no idea and that doesn’t influence anything I said. Nor did I assume anyone was racist. I don’t have a problem calling out racism when I see it. I did not say the OP was “positing brown privilege”, either. I was pointing out that there is no “flip side” to white privilege and that all these issues are intertwined whichever “side” you are on, so you cannot possibly answer the OP’s question without all the nuance and context you seem to despise as “lecturing.” Hence why I asked if this was a serious question, because if it is, it deserves a serious answer and cannot possibly be answered as “yes” or “no” (the existence of a specific scholarship or scholarships is a totally different thing.) 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, providence said:

The silly thing about the litigation is that it’s trying to artificially separate one group’s grievance from the whole mess. The fact is that there are more people of some races with the stats for Harvard than Harvard can admit, and other races where it is nearly impossible to get Harvard stats, due to systemic and socio-economic factors. So there has to be a weeding-out using more subjective factors, and whatever they use, human bias is going to come through and someone is going to be unhappy. The metrics this group wants used reflects their values and abilities but may be unfair to another group. The 30% legacy admits and general class bias in Harvard admissions is a much bigger problem than a black kid getting a bit of a break on their SAT score so they can get in. 

Well if academic factors were the only criteria by which applicants were assessed Asians would make up a far greater proportion of the student body at Harvard than 23% (the lawsuit alleges the number would be 40%). I'm not sure any group has grievances that are as striking as that one right there.

Now if schools feel the need to be bastions of justice and use other criteria to determine which students gain admission to their institutions then I won't argue with that. But at least be honest about what your doing. Don't subject these kids to this insulting process whereby their entire life is assessed and found to be wanting in the areas of "likability", "integrity", and "courage". They didn't get in because they are Asian, there wasn't anything wrong with them. I think that is where most of the outrage surrounding this is coming from. 

 

Edited by BearPatrol

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, BearPatrol said:

Well if academic factors were the only criteria by which applicants were assessed Asians would make up a far greater proportion of the student body at Harvard than 23% (the lawsuit alleges the number would be 40%). I'm not sure any group has grievances that are as striking as that one right there.

Now if schools feel the need to be bastions of justice and use other criteria to determine which students gain admission to their institutions then I won't argue with that. But at least be honest about what your doing. Don't subject these kids to this insulting process whereby their entire life is assessed and found to be wanting in the areas of "likability", "integrity",and "courage". They didn't get in because they were Asian, there wasn't anything wrong with them. I think that is where most of the outrage surrounding this is coming from. 

 

But who says “academic factors” as currently defined are the best definition of merit or the fairest way to determine admission? And if a group already has substantial representation, who is to say they are entitled to more or shouldn’t have less? (Including white people in this.) 

Edit: you could then say all holistic procedures that look at life experience and character etc are “insulting.” And no one is saying there is something wrong with you if you don’t get into Harvard! I’m sure people competitive for Harvard will get in somewhere. 

Edited by providence
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3 minutes ago, providence said:

But who says “academic factors” as currently defined are the best definition of merit or the fairest way to determine admission? And if a group already has substantial representation, who is to say they are entitled to more or shouldn’t have less? (Including white people in this.) 

Well there are no good answers to these questions but I think academic factors are the fairest criteria to use when you have minority groups competing for the same spots. In this case Asian Americans have presumably faced the same systemic racism that other minorities have faced and yet they've still managed to achieve stellar academic scores. I just don't see how limiting their representation is fair in light of the omnipresent assumption that we extend to all other minority groups about having to deal with systemic racism.

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, providence said:

Edit: you could then say all holistic procedures that look at life experience and character etc are “insulting.” And no one is saying there is something wrong with you if you don’t get into Harvard! I’m sure people competitive for Harvard will get in somewhere. 

By all indications the system allows for to Asians be conveniently classified along stereotypical lines so as to score lower on those indices. In that manner, I would consider it insulting. 

Edited by BearPatrol

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1 hour ago, providence said:

But you’re missing how much more difficult it is to get B+ and 153 when you come from a reserve with schools full of mold that can’t retain teachers, you have to leave your community for high school, your family is dealing with the fallout from residential schools, you are unprepared for university due to all of this, the test itself has biases, etc etc. So how  can it be easier? A white suburban person’s 153 is not the same as the 153 of many (not all) indigenous people. I know some schools struggle to fill their “aboriginal” spots or do not fill them all sone years. 

So you think that the challenges faced by Aboriginals offset the ease of their application process so much that the whole process of getting into law school for Aboriginals is, on the whole, not easier than the average person applying - therefore, being an Aboriginal does not help one get into law school. I would agree in some cases and disagree in others. I also think that the existence of pre-set spots for Aboriginals that are encouraged to be filled would make the whole process easier for them. Not having enough Aboriginals to fill these spots would make the process easier for those that do apply as well. I still have to say that in many cases, getting into law school would be easier for them than the average student. 

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7 minutes ago, BearPatrol said:

Well there are no good answers to these questions but I think academic factors are the fairest criteria to use when you have minority groups competing for the same spots. In this case Asian Americans have presumably faced the same systemic racism that other minorities have faced and yet they've still managed to achieve stellar academic scores. I just don't see how limiting their representation is fair in light of the omnipresent assumption that we extend to all other minority groups about having to deal with systemic racism.

I would disagree that Asian Americans have faced the same systemic factors as African Americans or Native Americans. It’s more complex than that. 

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2 minutes ago, providence said:

I would disagree that Asian Americans have faced the same systemic factors as African Americans or Native Americans. It’s more complex than that. 

That may very well be true. I just think that if this is where admission policies are heading then there should be transparency for all those involved and not rigged predetermined processes that try to maintain the veneer of objectivity. 

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12 minutes ago, providence said:

I would disagree that Asian Americans have faced the same systemic factors as African Americans or Native Americans. It’s more complex than that. 

Literally the same ones? Sure. But let's not pretend the last two centuries haven't seen Asian populations subject to extreme, ridiculous, racist, and anti- "human rights" behavior like any other minority group.

This behaviour still exists. It's pervasive. It's a problem that people brush it under the rug.

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