Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

NY Times Op-Ed: Dump Legacy Preference

Roger_DooleyRoger_Dooley Founder Posts: 106,392 Senior Member
edited October 2010 in College Admissions
An op-ed piece in the NY Times by Richard Kahlenberg titled "Elite Colleges, or Colleges for the Elite?" suggests that legacy preferences may be illegal, and that traditional reasons for admitting legacy candidates (e.g., higher alumni giving) aren't supported by statistics.


From the stats I've seen, being a legacy isn't much of an advantage at most elite schools, and legacy status often results in a "courtesy waitlist" that, of course, never turns into an acceptance.

Of course, if your parent (or grandparent) is able to make an enormous contribution, that's a different story. Kahlenberg might find that even more problematic, but institutional survival is still Job One at colleges and universities.
Post edited by Roger_Dooley on

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

  • bmanbs2bmanbs2 Registered User Posts: 1,719 Senior Member
    Legacy admissions is more accurately titled legacy admi$$ions. It's a good way for need-blind schools to admit fewer spoiled students from below the poverty line that qualify for substantial need-based aid.
  • PlainsmanPlainsman Registered User Posts: 1,503 Senior Member
    It's wrong. Period. It's Affirmative Action for well-to-do white kids.
  • standrewsstandrews Registered User Posts: 1,365 Senior Member
    The colleges themselves need to determine their admission policies not the NY Times.
  • Aman13Aman13 Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    Legacy admissions should be removed. I mean, I can understand why they were started from a historical and admission standpoint, but its still a very cheap way to get into a school. The only seemingly reasonable reason to keep it around is that it makes the decisions of Ivy league and other high ranking schools much easier when they get tens of thousands of highly qualified students applying. Otherwise, all legacy admissions contribute to are a "birth right" to get into top tier schools. I don't mind legacy being "A factor", but this isn't an Affirmitive Action program that can "help" students get in. If the data is true that 10-25% of the student population are legacies, then unless there is about that portion of applicants who are legacies there is a great reason why students should be upset. I shouldn't have a smaller chance at an Ivy league school just because my parents aren't Harvord grads.

    Very intersting article. Thanks for Sharing!
  • splat11splat11 Registered User Posts: 293 Junior Member
    I don't really care. The college should be able to select the students they want. but why should any thing other than your performance get you into a school. That includes race gender, and legacy.
  • highschoolruleshighschoolrules Registered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    I don't get what's wrong with legacy admits...or what's more wrong about it then affirmative action.
  • daretorundaretorun Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    I don't get what's wrong with legacy admits...or what's more wrong about it then affirmative action.

    I, personally, don't think legacy admits are really significant enough to push more qualified applicants out of the "accepted pool" so it doesn't matter to me. It's life.

    However, I still think legacy admits is not the same as affirmative action. Affirmative action is in place to put disadvantaged students at an equal playing field as the average student. Statistics do exist that hispanics and blacks are more likely to be impoverished than the average caucasian.

    I understand there are inherent flaws in the way affirmative action works, but idealistically it helps those who are underprivileged receive the same opportunities as those who aren't. Legacy admits are not usually "underprivileged" and therefore do not need a leg up. It's a totally different situation.
  • limabeanslimabeans Registered User Posts: 4,754 Senior Member
    I liked this op-ed piece. I often wondered which ivy my son would have gotten into if only his parents hadn't gone to tier-82 colleges. He was certainly a smart kid, great stats/scores/grades/awards, but lacking the legacy. Got WL'd instead.
  • limabeanslimabeans Registered User Posts: 4,754 Senior Member
    standrews: at least the NYTimes writes about this stuff! Maybe you don't like to see it because your kid (or you) wouldn't be in an ivy without the legacy hook?
  • bioslickbioslick Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    As a society it is imperative to keep Legacy & affirmative action. They are critical for the self esteem of the parent whose child does not get admitted to their Ivy of choice. Otherwise they would be left with blaming geographical preference for taking their child's slot.
  • mommusicmommusic Registered User Posts: 8,301 Senior Member
    I don't think Legacy admission is defendable (there must be a better word for that.) Defensible. I mean, really...you get in because your parents went there?
  • Professor101Professor101 Registered User Posts: 640 Member
    I won't use one brush to paint everything. Public schools like UC Berkely should not have legacy and they don't. Private schools rely heavily on private donations should be allowed to have legacy. Private schools are non-profit business and they should be allowed to survive.
  • navyasw02navyasw02 Registered User Posts: 248 Junior Member
    Not to justify the practice of legacy admissions, but how is it any different from having well off/successful parents who leverage their status for you anyway? Do you think Donald Trump's kids would be where they are now if their last name was Smith? Lets be realistic here, nepotism has existed in all parts of society since society began. How's it any different in the academic world?
  • sahmilsahmil Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    in my opinion performance should be the only reason for one to get an admission into any college as it is the soul way deserving candidates can succeed
  • mifunemifune Registered User Posts: 2,761 Senior Member
    I support the author's position. The "old boy's network" is inequitable and is really only countered with the timeworn and witless argument that colleges may ultimately do whatever they please.
This discussion has been closed.