First, high test scores are necessary. Studies have been done that show that Asian students applying to selective colleges need to have about 100 point more on the SAT to compete with other students. Why? Because it is assumed that if you are Asian you are a good test taker. This is of course a ridiculous assumption but it is the reality you have to deal with.
Second, colleges don’t want too many Asians. Yes, colleges want diversity but Asians are generally viewed as a group by colleges. Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, all Asian. Moreover, there are more students of Asian descent applying to selective colleges than these colleges want to accept. So your competition is not just other Indian students; it includes all Asian students who are applying.
Third, don’t be a stereotype. You know what I mean. The hard working Indian student whose only focus is on school and if there are other activities they are most likely tennis and classical Indian dance. Don’t get me wrong. If you like playing tennis, by all means do so. And maintaining your heritage through a study of classical Indian dance or music is great.
But don’t stop there. Get involved in other activities. Like dance? Then also try some other types of dance like jazz and ballet. One of my most interesting Indian students played hockey. And was a girl. An Indian girl who played hockey was not something that the admission offices saw every day.
Fourth, think outside the box. Don’t apply to the same 20 selective colleges as every other Indian student. There are many great colleges that would love to have more Indian applicants but they are off the radar for most students. Your chances of admission are much greater where there are fewer Indian applicants.
Indian students can be very successful when applying to college. But you have to keep in mind the question of what makes you interesting to a college and what is the right college for you.