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PianoWinterfellPianoWinterfell Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
I don't know if this question has been asked on CC. I tried to search it, and couldn't find many results. How much do hooks help applicants in admission to ivies (URM, first gen, legacy etc.)? Has someone made a list that ranks these hooks from most helpful to least helpful?

Replies to: Hooks

  • MaizeScreamMaizeScream Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    College admissions, especially ivies, isn't some formula. They don't give out 5 points if you have a 36, 2 points if you're from Idaho, 4 points if you're black, whatever. Colleges are just looking for a diverse group of people, so theres no way to rank how helpful each one of them is. Focus on what you can control in your application and don't worry about what you can't.
  • PianoWinterfellPianoWinterfell Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    Thank you for your advice! I was curious because I've seen people said somewhere on CC that hooks significantly boost one's chances in the ED round.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,840 Senior Member
    The usual assumed potential magnitude of the usual "hooks" is:

    relation to a huge donor >> recruited athlete >> legacy or URM

    Note that some colleges do not consider legacy and/or URM.
  • PianoWinterfellPianoWinterfell Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    What about first gen?
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,619 Senior Member
    I don't think that universities want us to know, and it might vary between schools (it certainly varies between schools, I don't know whether it varies between Ivy's). The biggest "hint" that I have seen is looking at the little scatter plots of who was and who was not accepted into various schools. These suggest that for some schools the "hooks" can make quite a large difference.

    Fortunately there are a lot of very good universities, and in our experience students with very strong academics usually can find a good match.
  • BKSquaredBKSquared Registered User Posts: 455 Member
    Superhooks: Athletic recruits; child of major donor/donor prospect (talking 7 figures+, at least for the most selectives); famous person in their own right; child of major celebrity/major political leader. Some academic standards will still need to be met these days, but can be admitted with lower qualifications than average (many though may be at or in fact well above average).

    Moderate hooks: URM (more weight for SES disadvantaged), first gen., children of faculty/admin, legacy and parent(s) is significant/consistent donor and volunteer

    Low hooks: plain legacy, unusual geography

    I don't include major award/recognition recipients because those are talents, although one could argue that this is also true for AR's.

    All of the above may vary based on specific institution. Putting MIT and Caltech aside, being an athletic recruit is the golden ticket for the most selectives that doesn't require hitting the mega jackpot in the birth lottery.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 1,444 Senior Member
    What @BKSquared said...
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 62,840 Senior Member
    edited September 14
    BKSquared wrote:
    All of the above may vary based on specific institution. Putting MIT and Caltech aside, being an athletic recruit is the golden ticket for the most selectives that doesn't require hitting the mega jackpot in the birth lottery.

    Note that, out of the usual "hooks", recruited athlete is the one that is earned by the applicant, as opposed to being merely inherited from parents. Note also that, of the unearned "hooks", only the smaller ones of URM (or low SES or 1G, if they are even "hooks") correlate to disadvantage, possibly indicating a more meritous applicant compared to one of similar achievement who started from a more advantaged situation. The other unearned "hooks" correlate to advantage, possibly indicating a less meritous applicant compared to one of similar achievement.

    Of course, pure applicant merit is not the goal of most colleges. The use of "hooks" shows colleges' concern for their own marketability to both future applicants and donors.
  • 123Mom456123Mom456 Registered User Posts: 676 Member
    edited September 14
    You used the term significantly boosts one's chances and I have to disagree that most hooks won't significantly boost some one. Yes, there are super hooks. Shaq's son had a super hook. Famous dad basketball player. Meeting the NCAA minimum requirements was probably all he needed to do to get into the college of his choice. I don't know anything about him scholastically, but could he have been one of the GPAs in the 10th percentile and still get into a school, probably. Those are super hooks - celebrities and their kids, first family, grandfather donated enough for them to name the library after him and the recruited athlete that the school wants.

    Being a first gen, legacy or URM may give you a better shot when they are down to picking between a stack of all equal applicants but it probably won't give you a big advantage or move you ahead of more qualified applicants.
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,135 Senior Member
    A hook is a reason why a school specifically would want you over others with similar profiles. As noted above typical hooks are being a recruited athlete, child of a large donor etc. If you had a hook you would know it.

    IMO the things mentioned in post #6 above as medium or low hooks are not really hooks, but rather are things that a particular school may take into consideration when looking at your application on a holistic basis.

    If you are interested in if a particular school considers first generation then google the common data set for that school, look at section C and it will tell you what, if any, weight first generation status has -- there is no one answer that is correct for every college. For the few schools I happened to look at first generation status was listed as "considered" but was not viewed as "important" or "very important".
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,619 Senior Member
    "Being a first gen, legacy or URM may give you a better shot when they are down to picking between a stack of all equal applicants but it probably won't give you a big advantage or move you ahead of more qualified applicants."

    Again, it is hard to know since we don't have much to go from other than anecdotal stories and the little scatter plots. However, from what I have seen in the little scatter plots, it appears that in some cases it can give a boost which is the equivalent to about 0.5 on GPA. To me this seems pretty large.

    It is a pity that we don't have more accurate information, but I really don't think that we do.
  • BKSquaredBKSquared Registered User Posts: 455 Member
    Kind of how you define "hooks". Being a relative newbie here, the "moderate and low" ones are often mentioned in various posts, so I included them.

    My own definition of it, along the lines of @ucbalumnus, is that they are applicant attributes that have to do more with "what they are" as opposed "what they have accomplished" when their application is being considered. That is why I sometime question whether being an AR is a hook. It really is a talent no different than being a winner of some national award or recognition, although there is a formalized process for them going through the athletic department first. Without getting into the merits of URM, legacy, etc.... (lot of interesting debate on other pages) those attributes if they are being considered have less to do with the accomplishments of the applicant but who their parents are.
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,135 Senior Member
    @BKSquared I view a hook as person with a trait that fulfills a specific institutional need of a college. So if a college decides that it wants a successful sports team it may seek out specific athletic recruits creating a hook. IMO it is that specific institutional need (which can be sports, legacy donations etc.) which differentiates an athletic recruit from an academic award winner etc. you described above.

    Also FWIW I think many on CC reserve the term "hooks" for things that will almost assuredly get a person with appropriate academics admitted to a college. The moderate and low hooks you noted are often referred to as something that may be a tip in the admission process. We are saying the same thing -- it is just nomenclature.
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