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How much does legacy status help at top schools even without donations?

username29username29 Posts: 192Registered User Junior Member
edited November 2011 in College Admissions
I know legacy status helps at top 25 schools, but how much does it help with minimal or no donations nor active participation?
Post edited by username29 on
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Replies to: How much does legacy status help at top schools even without donations?

  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 26,732Registered User Senior Member
    For what it's worth, my legacy son (double legacy) got into a top 20 school and I would say that over the 25 years since H and I graduated, we have given less than $1000 in total ... I doubt it's even hit $500 ... and have not been active in alumni clubs or anything of that nature. In other words, if they gave a boost for legacy, it certainly wasn't because we were heavy-hitting donors.
  • patriotsfan1patriotsfan1 Posts: 1,130Registered User Senior Member
    I've wondered this too. Was your daughter pretty smart/well in the range of applicants?
  • glidoglido Posts: 5,076Registered User Senior Member
    I spoke with an admissions officer at Harvard who said that legacy was merely a "feather on the scale."
  • wannabe252wannabe252 Posts: 241Registered User Junior Member
    They kind of have to say that publicly though. How would it look if they went around saying that legacy was a huge factor in admissions?
  • texaspgtexaspg Posts: 13,821Super Moderator Senior Member
    Harvard had 30% admit rate for legacy in 2011 (5 times the rate of the whole applicant pool).

    Yale shows 13.5% +of the 2015 admit class being legacy in their freshman profile.
  • patriotsfan1patriotsfan1 Posts: 1,130Registered User Senior Member
    That makes it seem like a huge factor then.
  • exultationsyexultationsy Posts: 1,100Registered User Senior Member
    But the legacies I know tend to be just as high-achieving as the non-legacies. I think the not-so-qualified legacies are less likely to apply, because they know they're not going to get in. But legacies in general tend to come from home environments that really push education, and so tend to have good applications. What I'd like to see is the rate of Princeton legacy admissions at, say, Stanford, or Brown legacies at Harvard, to find kids from equally education-pushing homes but who aren't technically legacies.
  • patriotsfan1patriotsfan1 Posts: 1,130Registered User Senior Member
    True. I'm guessing that graduates of top schools end up living well (middle to upper class usualy) and stress education. Surely some end up donating a lot too.
  • wannabe252wannabe252 Posts: 241Registered User Junior Member
    Not me. I know a girl whose parents were both graduates from a particular Ivy who was accepted. Her SAT scores were below 2000 and her grades were OK but nothing compared to other applicants. I guess it just depends.
  • ELM277ELM277 Posts: 61Registered User Junior Member
    In my experience, there's a big difference between legacy and development candidates. If you've given a lot of money, even top schools bend enormously. That makes you development.

    But legacy is a large factor, money or not, for the highly qualified legacy candidate. I'll repeat--HIGHLY QUALIFIED. The 2350, top of class, strong EC legacy candidate at an ivy has multiples the chance of an unhooked candidate. It's that simple.

    However, the 2100, top 10% candidate has little advantage (without money) as the ivies all reject the vast majority--over 75%--of legacy applicants.
  • StevenfStevenf Posts: 621Registered User Member
    Is legacy a significant factor even if you don't apply to a school Early Decision?
  • charlieschmcharlieschm Posts: 4,282Registered User Senior Member
    I read of one private northeastern university where a legacy only receives admissions preference if you are a very regular donor and/or are active in alumni groups, etc.

    A selective public university says that the admissions office has no idea whether a legacy parent has donated, or how much. However, the President's Office still provides them a list of very very large donors who have a son or grandson who is applying. In that case, modest donors don't receive any extra preference.

    I read a book that said that many years ago, Harvard did not give admissions preference to legacies if you applied for financial aid.

    As of last year, Penn only provided admissions preference to legacies if they applied binding early admission. They said you also received some preference in the regular admissions cycle, but the data showed that there was no preference.
  • SikorskySikorsky Posts: 5,851Registered User Senior Member
    I completely agree with exultationsy's assessment. Being a legacy is helpful to highly qualified legacies; it doesn't get unqualified legacies admitted over better qualified applicants who aren't legacies.

    Here's what Harvard says:
    Are a student's chances of admission enhanced if a relative has attended Harvard?

    The application process is the same for all candidates. Among a group of similarly distinguished applicants, the daughters and sons of College alumni/ae may receive an additional look.

    Harvard College Admissions § Applying: Frequently Asked Questions

    I believe them.
  • texaspgtexaspg Posts: 13,821Super Moderator Senior Member
    Most people applying to Harvard are highly qualified. The fact that legacy candidates seem to have a 5 to 1 advantage among that pool is not considered an addtional look.
  • bobtheboybobtheboy Posts: 2,216Registered User Senior Member
    If a candidate is highly qualified (with a weakness in ECs, but those still being decent, and the other weakness income/race), and a parent went to a school for GRAD, not undergrad, will the legacy still help? (Not applying for financial aid, and domestic applicant)
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