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NY Times Op-Ed: Dump Legacy Preference


Replies to: NY Times Op-Ed: Dump Legacy Preference

  • RedrosesRedroses - Posts: 3,293 Senior Member
    Your argument would be strong if legacies did not bring benefits. Who do you want to fund financial aid? The NYT offers no proof for the claim that alum continue to give as much money with no legacy preference. As a Fund raiser for my Alma mater and a former counselor at an uber elite school filled with ivy legacies, I've personally seen many seven and eight figure donations timed perfectly to reap the legacy tip.
  • poetgrlpoetgrl Registered User Posts: 13,334 Senior Member

    I hope your daughter isn't silly enough to pass up networking opportunities once she gets out in the business world. She will find it really isn't what you know so much as who you know, past a certain point. I hope she doesn't remain so silly and naive as she gets older.
  • FoColoFoColo Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    Thanks bclintonk for expressing my thought as well.

    Our son just completed the application to his father's alma mater, which is also our state's most selective public university. It asked for names and graduation dates of any alumni relatives. I believe this is information that would possibly benefit fundraising efforts, not an applicants admission chances. Especially our son, whose father spent several semesters on academic probation!
  • kreativekatkreativekat Registered User Posts: 429 Member
    I don't see anything wrong with giving a legacy the nod over another applicant with the same stats in the same way that affirmative action should give special consideration to minorities with the same qualifications. When students have the same qualifications is the only time EITHER of these should be the deciding factor. Unfortunately this is not the reality of the situation.
  • kdmomkdmom Registered User Posts: 362 Member
    "Why does that entitled them to a special advantage over an equally bright, talented, and hard-working child of immigrant parents, whose ancestors never had the chance to attend one of these colleges?"

    It doesn't. But why do you think that's who they're getting an advantage over? I'm guessing that legacies, to the extent that they're accepted over anyone else, are accepted over other equally bright, talented, and hard-working kids from other well-to-do families.

    Maybe colleges like legacy students because they bring a sense of tradition (and perhaps a bit of prestige) to the student body. If colleges were to lose that sense of continuity and heritage would so many people still want to go there?
  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,678 Super Moderator
    Nobody is entitled to admissions to top universities and I think that universities should be able to decide how they want to admit students, as long as they aren't breaking any laws and discriminating against federally protected groups. Are legacy admissions fair? No. But life isn't fair. People get jobs based on who they know all the time.

    Also, we're conflating legacy admissions with unworthy admissions. I highly doubt that a legacy applicant who is far below the school's averages is going to get admitted unless their parents are truly loaded and build the school a new library or something (and then it's just quid pro quo). Most legacy admits, I'd wager, are students who could've gotten in on their own merit anyway but just got a small boost from being legacies.

    The various civil rights acts and litigation were not meant for legacy preference admissions. Also, I noticed that this author didn't mention how much legacy admission rates exceed the regular ones or whether or not legacies are disproportionately represented in the student body as opposed to the applicant pool.

    Children of faculty and staff are not legacies unless their parents went to the school.
    And I don't say this because I'll benefit from legacy admissions. I'm only 24, I have no children, and my undergraduate college was great but it was a second-tier liberal arts college.
  • CanuckguyCanuckguy Registered User Posts: 1,167 Senior Member
    There is a really good discussion here related to this topic:

    Should you go to an Ivy League School? Gene Expression

    What caught my attention are the following:

    "" Contrary to what you may have heard (“All top-ranked schools are the same”); it in fact looks like the difference between top-ranked Harvard and 9th ranked Dartmouth is on the order of ~$4,000 a year (perhaps $100,000-$200,000 over the course of a lifetime?). That difference grows to something like $18,000 over 25th ranked UCLA, per year.""

    ""If Dan Ariely is really concerned about inequality, perhaps he should complain more about his University’s (Harvard) Admissions processes. There are few forces in the country so strongly promotive of inter-generational wealth accumulation as College Admissions practices, particularly at the top end of the wealth distribution, yet they remain very under-discussed whenever these topics come up.
    This goes a long way in explaining why so many groups are fighting for Harvard; it is a king maker.
  • WallyMCDWallyMCD Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    As someone who just went through this with son and the legacy factor did not result in acceptance, I still favor it.

    Son had 2070 SAT/34ACT and 4.4 GPA and still was waitlisted at my Ivy alma mater. In case you wonder, I have given generously for 25+ years, endowed a small scholarship and interview applicants for the school each year. Still, that was not enough for admission. So--#1--it's not the factor many of you who post think it is; and #2--despite that, I still think it's a worthwhile criterion to use in admissions. It isn't just about money, it's about reinforcing a culture that legacies might understand better than kids whose parents didn't go to the school. Remember, legacies are a PART of the class, but only a PART--there are anywhere from 80% to 95% non-legacies in the classes.

    All the parents on this board have great kids who they think are awesome. I do too. That still doesn't mean that the admissions officers at these schools see it the same way.

    Face it, you're all trying to impose structure and predictability on a process that is anything but. Instead of whining about it, support your kid in whatever school s/he is admitted to and decides to attend. They and you will be better off for it.
This discussion has been closed.