A second brief, submitted by three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Gail Heriot, Peter Kirsanow and Todd Gaziano), argues that racial preferences in law school admissions mean fewer black lawyers than there would be without preferences that bring law students into elite academic settings where their credentials put them in the bottom of their classes. A similar dynamic is reducing the number of minority scientists and engineers than there would be under race-neutral admissions policies.
There are fewer minorities entering high-prestige careers than there would be if preferences were not placing many talented minority students in inappropriate, and discouraging, academic situations: “Many would be honor students elsewhere. But they are subtly being made to feel as if they are less talented than they really are.” This is particularly so regarding science and engineering, which are, as Heriot, Kirsanow and Gaziano say, “ruthlessly cumulative”: Students who struggle in entry-level classes will find their difficulties cascading as the academic ascent becomes steeper. Hence the high attrition rates.
There are a lot of worse jobs than engineer, but there are better jobs, too.
To compare this topic to my next blog post below, I'd say that getting into a college a little over your head is likely to be a lot less disastrous than getting into a financial transaction a little over your head. Not for profit colleges, especially the elite ones, are pretty coddling places, at least outside of sci-eng departments. If you don't graduate, that will look bad on their USNWRs, so they will help you find a Plan B.
In contrast, you don't want to get into a for-profit educational institution to study something above your brainpower. You'll just wind up with a lot of inescapable debt and nothing to show for it.