Why I Was Not Accepted into Harvard

Op-Ed: I’m an Asian American Harvard grad. Affirmative action helped me score high on the SAT

When college professors tell you that you have good grades and a high test score but you are not accepted into your dream school, many of them say something like “but you are Asian.”

I understand how it feels, but I am not afraid — at least not yet.

My parents worked very hard to get me into Harvard. I earned the highest marks on all my high school exams. In fact, I was in the top 15 percent of students nationwide.

And while I may not go to Harvard, my scores are just as good. And according to Harvard’s admission website, I’m a perfect 590 (“perfect” means you got every single right on your SAT or ACT score, not all of which are perfect).

Here’s how that turned out.

I was going to go to Harvard, and I was going to take as many tests as I wanted, according to my own schedule: on Saturdays and Sundays, late into the night; and even on my first day of classes, I could have taken the SAT or ACT.

I wasn’t worried that I’d get “beat up” for taking a test too late on a Saturday night.

I took the SAT and the ACT on different days, in different classrooms; and I took them in writing. I was always asked to write an essay, and I didn’t want to have to worry about getting it wrong.

Many Asian Americans, myself included, have been told that it’s not acceptable for us to take college entrance exams, on Asian-American days. So I was going to Harvard.

And I was going to go there with my schoolwork, according to my schedule.

I could have taken the SAT or ACT, but Harvard allowed me to retake the SAT and the ACT on days when I had other things I wanted to do (like eat dinner, which was my favorite meal of the day).

I liked Harvard (at least I wanted to go there), even though it was different from the Asian-American high schools I had gone to. I had gone to the Bronx High School of Science (“the Bronx” refers to the Bronx, New York, not the Bronx, Pennsylvania); and the

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