A white college senior with strong scores and grades who gets a rejection letter tends to think, "if only Harvard didn’t give preferences to minority races, I’d be heading to Cambridge in a few months."
As Steven Mazie points out in today's lesson, this is an example of the self-handicapping bias. While you wait for your college acceptance letters to arrive, you are already creating conditions for failure ahead of time to protect your ego.
However, affirmative action is a poor scapegoat. There are thousands of other students competing for spots at the most competitive colleges. Their qualifications are on par with or better than yours, "making it very unlikely that ending affirmative action would open up a spot for any particular student."