Article Title

Doing Affirmative Action


Sometime this year the Supreme Court will announce its holding in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case that asks whether colleges may continue to consider race when making admissions decisions. Most Court watchers predict that the five conservative justices will vote to curtail the use of racial preferences. Lost in the weighty discussions about the scope of the Equal Protection Clause and the meaning of the Civil Rights struggle is any clear and concise explanation of how selective colleges actually make admissions decisions and how they work to fulfill the goals of affirmative action. This Essay seeks to fill the gap. I draw the following conclusions from the two years I worked in the Admissions Office at Princeton University. As part of the job, I interviewed hundreds of high school seniors and evaluated thousands of college applications. I also helped to implement the University’s full battery of affirmative action policies. To put a fine point on it, I routinely pushed to reject white applicants with higher SAT scores and GPAs in favor of less credentialed black students.