The US Supreme Court is currently hearing a case centered around the University of Texas and its race-based admissions policy.

Kevin Kiley of Inside Higher Ed takes a look at one category of minority students that doesn’t seem to enjoy the same benefits from quotas as other groups:

Don’t check the box.

It’s the advice that’s given to Asian-American students by friends, family members, guidance counselors, even teachers, in the college application process. “The box” in question (actually more of a circle these days) refers to the selection of “Asian” when college applications ask students how they identify themselves.

At a session on the topic here at the National Association for College Admission Counseling’s annual meeting – a convention that brings together high school counselors with college admission directors and others involved in the field – almost all the hands in the room shot up when panelists asked the audience if they thought Asian-American students were held to a higher standard in the college admissions process.

Irrespective of whether colleges consciously or unconsciously discriminate against Asian-American students in the admissions process  – a topic that has been the subject of copious research – the pervasive problem, said panelists here, is that many Asian-American students believe the institutions do, potentially causing them to approach high school differently than they might have otherwise or dissemble about their identity on the actual applications.

Panelists said myriad forces contribute to the perception of bias in college admissions, including intense pressure for a relatively small number of seats at a small set of institutions (and the need to explain rejections to competitive peers); an actual history of bias against minorities in general and Asians in particular; and a “disproportionate” share of Asian-American students who are qualified for admission at elite institutions.

But the ultimate culprit, they said, is that most people simply do not understand the complicated admissions process employed by elite institutions…

The report quotes Jesse Washington, an Associated Press reporter who did story on Asian-Americans and admissions that reported that several Asian-American students at Ivy League universities declined to state their race during application process.

Washington said that when he was writing his story on Asian-American admissions, the admissions offices at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton did not return his inquiries. Washington… and others said colleges need to rethink how they talk about the admissions process with these students.