Altering public university admission standards to preserve white group position in the United States: Results from a laboratory experiment

Frank L Samson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


This study identifies a theoretical mechanism that could potentially affect public university admissions standards in a context of demographic change. I explore how demographic changes at a prestigious public university in the United States affect individuals' evaluations of college applications. Responding to a line graph that randomly displays a freshmen enrollment trend toward a white plurality or an Asian American plurality, white student evaluators lower their minimum class rank standard for admitting white applicants when exposed to an Asian American plurality trend. They also raise the minimum test percentile standard for admitting Asian American applicants. Notably, plurality trend does not affect Asian American student evaluators' minimum standards for recommending admission. Applications differed only by applicant race.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-396
Number of pages28
JournalComparative Education Review
Issue number3 SUPPL
StatePublished - Aug 19 2013
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this