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International Student Countries of Origin III

Here (doc) is a listing of the countries of origin of the 155 international students in the classes of 2015 — 2018. Let’s spend four days discussing it. This is Day 3.

There seems to be some “country collecting” going on here, lots of countries with just one or two students. That is, I bet that there are much stronger students in, say, China/Korea/Canada that Williams rejects in favor students from more obscure countries.

This probably leads us to underestimate of the amount of discrimination against academically excellent international applicants. Recall previous discussions here and here. Summary: It sometimes (but not every year) seems like international students do much better in academics than US students, suggesting the possibility of bias against them in the admissions process. (Of course, there are other hypotheses.)

The relevance about this new information, however, is that we can probably divide the international population into two groups: competitive countries (China, Korea, Canada, . . . ) and non-competitive countries. Applicants from competitive countries, with academic credentials significantly above the Williams average, probably do much better at Williams (and are more discriminated against by admissions) than applicants from non-competitive countries.

Consider the 46 seniors elected to Phi Beta Kappa last spring. Only 5 appear to be international:

Benjamin C. Hoyle, mathematics, Paris, France
Raea E. Rasmussen, psychology, Tokyo, Japan
Miho Sakuma, history, Tokyo, Japan
Phonkrit Tanavisarut, economics and mathematics, Bangkok, Thailand
Jeewon Yoo, English and mathematics, Seoul, Republic of Korea

This is not too much above the class’s proportion of international students. But these students sure don’t seem to come from the countries that, a priori, I would describe as “competitive.”

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