Are you saying all these otherwise-"unqualified" legacies would be replaced by other hooked groups such as athletic recruits or URMs
Holistic admissions is designed to cement the existing status quo.
Otherwise, how do MIT and Caltech get their donations? And they're just as generous when it comes to financial aid.
I don't know how they would figure out the cooperative/competitive nature of kids from their high school apps.
Collaborative and cooperative spirit
The core of the MIT spirit is collaboration and cooperation; you can see it all over the Institute. Many of the problem sets (our affectionate term for homework) at MIT are designed to be worked on in groups, and cross-department labs are very common. MIT is known for its interdisciplinary research. If you enjoy working alone all the time, that’s completely valid, but you might not be particularly happy at MIT.
t's not a simple either the paper counts or doesn't count. It's a good achievement and EC that contributes to the overall decision. It's more looking for a consistent pattern across the full application than looking for a single isolated achievement. As you noted, it can be difficult to draw conclusions from a single isolated event. However, I certainly would not assume he "tagged along" and "just put his name on the paper." I doubt Princeton admissions would make this assumption as well. Princeton admissions would likely be influenced by how he described the experience at Rutgers and related research in his essays, interview, and possibly LOR.
There is no way to estimate that they had a 20% chance of admission from the available information. According to https://admission.princeton.edu/how-apply/admission-statistics , Princeton applicants with a perfect 4.0 GPA only have an 8% rate of admission. If the Glen Ridge kids instead had a 3.9x GPA, then the average admit rate drops to 6%. Do you think you have enough information to determine how much greater chance each Glen Ridge applicant has than the average 4.0 GPA Princeton applicant?
As usual, outsiders guessing at the admission qualifications of the applicants cannot see important (to super selective colleges) components like essays and recommendations of the specific applicants and the rest of the applicant pool. So it is hard to really know, as opposed to falling back on preset assumptions.
]What do legacy and donor-kid students (as opposed to perhaps their parents and their donations, for whose kids the college admission preferences are effectively like an aristocratic inheritance) add to the campus over other students?
Indeed, strictly looking on the basis of personal academic merit, legacy and donor-kid students may have the least of all students of comparable academic achievement, since they are much more likely to have come from highly advantaged families (with attendant support and help in achieving to the top of one's potential) than "unhooked" students. For comparison, recruited athletes with comparable academic achievement had to achieve to a high level in a sport as well. URMs are somewhat more likely to have encountered barriers to climb over to reach a given level of achievement, compared to others of similar SES.
For example, in the wake of the lawsuit, the majority of all races of entering freshman at Harvard said they had a favorable view of racially-conscious affirmative action programs. The specific numbers were 6% of Black students had an unfavorable view, and 26% of Asian students had an unfavorable view. Senior survey numbers were similar.
$150k Income - $15k taxes, $250k savings, $250k in primary home
Caltech -- $63k Cost to Parents
MIT -- $37k Cost to Parents
Harvard -- $17k Cost to Parents
$65k Income - $5k taxes, $100k savings, Rent home
Caltech -- $11k Cost to Parents
MIT -- $8k Cost to Parents
Harvard -- $0 Cost to Parents
Well the costs that @Data10 pulled are selective, I don't think they are intentionally misleading.