The question of whether people with some minority heritage use that to win college admission is politically charged. An Indian-American man wrote a book in 2016 about pretending to be black to earn admission to medical schools that wouldn't have given him the time of day with his college grades (and an Asian background). But, the book recounts, he had no problem getting interest from top medical schools as a (faux) black American.
It's also the case that many Americans have family trees that include people of different backgrounds -- and many find themselves criticized for noting these connections. Just look at President Trump's taunts of U.S. senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts over her statement, years ago, of having Native American heritage on one side of her family.
Mark H. Sklarow, chief executive officer of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, said his association's ethics code has a provision that states, "A member’s primary obligation is to assess, make recommendations for, and represent each student accurately and fairly based upon a personal evaluation of the circumstances."
But what does that mean? He said that "members cannot inflate a student’s record, nor may they make claims that are judged to be false."
But Sklarow added that "things are rarely black-and-white." He said that a counselor or college admissions office would be making "judgment calls" on the individual's ethnic status and how much the student faced real disadvantages. He said that the counselor's example resonates with him personally, because one of his grandsons has a Bolivian father.
He predicted the issues raised by this case would become more common. "This will become murkier and murkier as increasingly our population is more diverse," he said.