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The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price, Second Edition by Lynn O’Shaughnessy

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27. The Asian Student Dilemma

Chinese parents can order their kids to get straight As. Western parents can only ask their kids to try their best.

—Amy Chua, Yale Law professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

If you are an Asian-American teenager, have you been tempted to hide your heritage when applying to colleges?

This isn’t an odd question. Asian Americans who have set their sights on elite universities are worried that getting into a school like Harvard or Dartmouth will be harder if their last name is Li, Wong, Kim, or Tanaka. Many Asian Americans are not revealing their ethnicity on their applications or are identifying themselves as multiracial. When one parent is of a different ethnicity, students are using that one.

Asian-American ...

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