Now that everyone is talking about IQ and cognitive ability, let's take a look at what the composition of an elite college like Harvard might look like if admission were based solely on cognitive ability. This means we'll ignore the distortion effects caused by affirmative action and legacy admissions.
La Griffe has already done the heavy computational lifting here, so I'll just steal his analysis:
Harvard reports 6704 undergraduate degree students for Fall 1998. Of these 472 (about 7 percent) were international students, leaving 6232 Americans. We estimated the number of freshman seats open to Americans as 1/4 this number or 1558. (The precise number is not essential.) Filling these slots in rank order of cognitive ability from the pool of all American 18-year-olds, we calculated Harvard's ethnic percentages based on merit alone.The percentages are shown in Table 4, from which we note immediately that the predicted Asian and Jewish enrollment is remarkably close to that reported by Unz and Buchanan.
|African American||0.07 %|
|Asian/Pacific Islander||17.0 %|
|non-Jewish, non-Hispanic white||54.6 %|
|Subtotal of all non-Hispanic whites||82.5 %|
|Table 4. Harvard undergraduate enrollment percentages, by ethnicity, resulting from a meritocratic admissions policy.|
This means that in each freshman class only one black and six Hispanic students would get in Harvard based on cognitive ability alone. The result is the perceived need for affirmative action set-asides. Harvard sets aside about 16% of its freshman slots (and additional 242 seats) for black and Hispanic students.
The question is: is this a good thing?
Bearing in mind that these 242 students, due to their lesser cognitive ability and fierce competition, will likely find themselves at the bottom of the graduating class, assuming they graduate at all.
Also bear in mind that these aren't dumb kids all of them have the cognitive ability to succeed in college though perhaps not at a Harvard. Does it do them a disservice to send them to a college where they will likely perform poorly as opposed to a lesser college where they would likely thrive?
How about the seven kids who got there based on cognitive ability and now have their achievement tainted? They certainly can't be happy.
Lastly, bear in mind that today's college freshman were all born in the late 80s, not exactly a time of Jim Crow-like discrimination.
So, notwithstanding the yet to be proven benefits of "diversity," where is the compelling reason to admit cognitively unqualified students to elite universities? (It's not a questions of getting them into any college; you only need a pulse to get into most colleges.)