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Effect of "Parent Education" Question

Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,648 Senior Member
edited January 2010 in Ask The Dean Topics
Question: As a parent, I was asked about my high school/college and what year I graduated. I would like to know if the parents’ level of education affects the student’s college acceptance. A parent’s educational background can sometimes help put an applicant’s information in perspective for admission officials. For example, if a student has very [...]

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Post edited by Sally_Rubenstone on

Replies to: Effect of "Parent Education" Question

  • rodneyrodney Registered User Posts: 9,406 Senior Member
    Based on Sally's response, probably a good idea for us to keep our Ivy league grad degrees off our average "B" student's application.......

    wish I knew that two years ago with my firstborn; good student but "I guess we didn't expose her to enough intellectual conversations at the dinner table"......

    FWIW, I agree that a first generation college student with good grades can get a "pass" from admissions, but how can admissions assume that the "accomplished" parent didn't go to the Ivy on FA?.....and since when did going to a top school "infer/assume" that kids would have the same interests/opportunities regardless of income levels.....? lots of assumptions being made based on 25-30 years ago.....
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,648 Senior Member
    Admission officials rarely put a lot of stock in those answers beyond flushing out the "first-gen" applicants. They certainly don't expect to create a clear picture of an applicant's upbringing based on a parent's erstwhile educational experiences. But there are times when the info can be helpful, as long as the admission folks realize that it provides just a tiny piece of a far bigger puzzle ... and sometimes a nugget of red-herring information as well. Example: Among my fellow children of the Sixties, there were a number of young men and women who hailed from well-educated, affluent families but who attended college only briefly (or sometimes not at all) and then pursued a range of other activities ... music, farming, arts, etc. So sometimes I encounter high school seniors who truthfully answer "None" to to the Parent College question and may appear to be first-generation, when, in fact, their grandparents or other older relatives hold Ivy pedigrees.

    Granted, this doesn't happen often, but it's just one example of why admission committees take those responses with a few grains of salt.
  • ncm2012ncm2012 Registered User Posts: 327 Member
    What would it look like to admissions committee if one parent went to undergrad in another country, then did post-grad/research in the US, and the other parent went to undergrad in another country, and went to graduate school here?
  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,648 Senior Member
    What would it look like to admissions committee if one parent went to undergrad in another country, then did post-grad/research in the US, and the other parent went to undergrad in another country, and went to graduate school here?

    This is a very common scenario, especially at the more competitive colleges that draw applicants from across the country as well as from around the world.

    So, typically, colleges regard these students the same way that they regard any child of educated parents, regardless of where the degrees were earned.

    Occasionally, however, this scenario provides some added information for admission committees. Most commonly it's when a student does not respond to the ethnicity question, but then the admission officials see that both parents have been educated in a particular country (usually India or China) which tends to suggest that the student is Asian.
  • MD MomMD Mom Registered User Posts: 6,728 Senior Member
    The fact that my husband went to West Point triggered a conversation with an alumni interviewer. My daughter made the interviewer laugh when she told the story that her dad was teaching ROTC at the college where I was an admissions counselor and I thought he was a professor. It's a joke. I did know that he was in the army, but it ususally gets a chuckle and certainly helped put my daughter at ease in the interview.

    I think that it is a huge advantage to have parents who are college graduates. For example, a student at a community college who is first generation is often expected to work a full-time job. The parents see that the student is only in class 15 hours a week versus the 35 hours of high school and think that they should work those extra hours. I see this all the time.
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