Legacy Admissions

The college admission process is a long and difficult one to navigate. Students need to consider where they would like to go and which school will be the best placement for them. This may include applying to the same college or universities that their parents attended.

It is known that legacy acceptance is a part of college admissions. Children of alumni are often boosted to the front of the line for acceptance into certain colleges and universities. This can also vary on when the student applies in addition to their overall performance.

Johns Hopkins recently made the decision to go public with the fact that they stopped giving admission boosts to legacies since 2014. They felt that by giving those children of legacies a stop ahead it took away from the applicant’s accomplishments, leadership ability, academic achievement, athletics and raw talent. By giving someone acceptance based on legacy does not give a college the ability to analyze the students abilities and character in a meaningful way and determine what they will give to the institution in a meaningful way.

While many of the best legacy applicants will be granted admission the percentage of admissions has declined from 12.5 percent to 3.5 percent. This also opened up spots for the best and brightest from all backgrounds. Institutions like Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania only consider legacy status if the student applies in the early round.

Studies have shown that legacy applicants not only had a boost on the odds of admission but were also typically strong academically. A study of thirty elite colleges, found that primary legacy students are an astonishing 45% more likely to get into a highly selective college or university than a non-legacy. Secondary legacies receive a lesser pick-me-up of 13%.  One study revealed that being a legacy was equivalent in admissions value to a 160 point gain on the SATs (on a 1600 point scale).

The end result of the legacy advantage can be seen on elite college campuses across the country. At Harvard, one-third of students offered admission have Crimson lineage. Fellow Ivies, The University of Pennsylvania and Brown also admit upwards of 33% of legacies, more than double their overall admit rate. Princeton, with its minuscule 5.8% admissions rate (Class of 2023), has been known to admit over 30% of legacy candidates.

Then there is the question of whether donations to give children admission. Some colleges view the donation by one in order to ensure admission gives the college the ability to pay for five financial aid packages for disadvantaged students. What if schools could auction off admissions? Would colleges actually consider auctioning off admissions into their school?

However, we also know that there is college admission can be dictated by the amount of money a family is willing to spend, and if it is in a legal manner. Recent college admission scandal of former sitcom star Lori Loughlin who spent money to ensure her daughter’s acceptance to the University of Southern California broke the law. While the $2.5 million that Jared Kushner’s parents spent to ensure his acceptance to Harvard legal.

There may be a shift in college admissions in the following years. However, it is a difficult process.


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