Legacy admissions is complex and sometimes viewed as a controversial issue. However, the bottom-line is that legacy admissions exists. What is true is that legacy applicants are affirmatively accepted. Ivies and top schools do consider legacy applicants and in some cases being a legacy is advantage in the application process. Based on surveys and statistics over 70% of top U.S. colleges and universities in the United States factor legacy status into their admissions decisions..
Who is a legacy applicant:? An applicant whose parents attended or graduated from the college or university to which they are applying.
Many US colleges admit “legacies”, or students with a family connection to the university, at dramatically higher rates than other applicants. For example, At Harvard, the acceptance rate for legacy students is about 33%, compared with an overall acceptance rate of under 6%. In Harvard’s incoming class of 2023, 23% were legacy. Princeton’s legacy applicants are admitted at roughly four times the rate of applicants overall.
In a recent article in the Hechinger Report: As Elite College Applications Soar, Legacy Admissions Still Give Wealthy and Connected Students an Edge, an interesting point of view was given. “Admitting legacy students also helps fund scholarships”, said Angel Pérez, chief executive officer of NACAC, “Legacy admissions foster lifelong loyalties and are a direct result of the way colleges are financed, with so much dependence on tuition revenue,” he added. So legacy admissions is not likely to end soon.
However, here is the other side. Not all legacies are admitted, and increasingly, more and more legacy applicants are being rejected.
Applications to colleges and universities have soared. Harvard surged by 42% to 57,000 applicants, Brown surged by 26% to 46,469 applicants and Princeton surged by 15% to 37,000 applicants. The increase in applications has affected the highly competitive schools as well as the institutions that top students usually considered “safety schools”. NYU surged by 20% to 100,000 applicants, UCLA surged by 28% to 139,000 applicants and Colgate surged by 102% to 17,392 applicants (last year Colgate had 8,582 applicants). With these numbers, more and more legacy applicants are being rejected. We have been receiving calls from legacy parents regarding the fact that their children are being waitlisted or outright rejected.
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