Does Yale Discriminate Against Asian Americans?

Eleven Asian American students looked at their admissions files. They were surprised by what they found.

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Spring day view from Sterling Library at Yale University (Stan Godlewski for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Sanchita Kedia


May 31, 2023


12 min

Sarah*, whose name has been anonymized to prevent any backlash, was a star student at her New York City high school, where her extracurricular activities included playing the violin and science research at multiple labs. When Sarah,* a recent Yale graduate, out of curiosity, decided to view her admissions file this past fall under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), which grants students access to their admission records, she expected to see glowing comments. But that’s not what she found. 

“She seems like every other person interested in science and I am not sure if she would continue at Yale,” one comment read. “She seems like a pretty average, generic candidate,” her Yale interviewer added.  The Juggernaut looked at the admissions files of 11 Asian American students — seven Indian Americans, two Chinese Americans, a Bangladeshi American, and a Korean American — at Yale to see whether the college used discriminatory language during their admissions process. On what basis does Yale admit their students: personality or merit? And do recent allegations of discrimination against Asians that have bubbled up to the Supreme Court hold any water?

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