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Legacy Admissions

123daehrs123daehrs 3 replies4 threads New Member
I was wondering how much legacy really helps. Of course you have to have good scores, GPA, and extracurrics to be considered but I am a legacy at Upenn and Georgetown. My mom who went to Upenn was not very active in the alumni community but was one of the first Asian females in her program. My dad went to georgetown and was very active in the community and still donates and has connections to professors and directors at the school. I also am from the west coast (Seattle) and multi-racial which seems to be a different trend than other legacies. Just wondering how much it helps, thanks for the insight.
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Replies to: Legacy Admissions

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7581 replies61 threads Senior Member
    It can be a bump if you are applying ED and are a strong candidate. At most schools, there is no help if you are applying RD.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78551 replies695 threads Senior Member
    It can be significant on an overall scale, depending on the college, but individual applicants should not expect it to turn a reach into a match/likely/safety.
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3540 replies9 threads Senior Member
    edited October 22
    FYI, Penn says legacies should apply ED if they want legacy consideration. Don't know if Gtown encourages legacies to apply REA.

    But as a practical matter, Penn's policy means you have to pick. If you apply Gtown REA, that means you are not applying Penn ED. And vice versa.

    Although if you get denied Penn ED, you'd still be able to apply Gtown RD. If you apply Gtown REA, you could still apply Penn RD but Penn says that's not the way to play your legacy card.
    edited October 22
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34475 replies382 threads Senior Member
    You need to match. That's more than, "good scores, GPA, and extracurrics." Your advantage comes with that "more" they look for and if you know these colleges well enough to nail the whole app and supp. Do you?
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  • tdy123tdy123 810 replies15 threads Member
    edited October 22
    All good points above.

    That being said, the anti-Asian bias lawsuit against Harvard revealed a 34% admit rate for for legacies, as opposed to about 6% overall.

    I don't think you'd be far off the mark to believe that the boost at UPenn will be significant in the ED round provided you have the stats to make you otherwise competitive.
    edited October 22
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3540 replies9 threads Senior Member
    "I don't think you'd be far off the mark to believe that the boost at UPenn will be significant in the ED round provided you have the stats to make you otherwise competitive. "

    This is the right way to look at it. Legacy/ED is mostly a tie-breaker.

    Penn has a middle ACT range of 33-35. If you have a 32, legacy/ED is probably not going to get it done. Because Penn has many thousands of applicants who show up with a 34 or 35 ACT.

    But when Penn looks at its big pile of 34 or 35 ACT applicants, the legacy/ED apps are much more likely to get picked. When playing a game that produces many ties, having a tie-breaker is HUGE.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1517 replies30 threads Senior Member
    IMO, legacy helps if the person is still very active in the college (e.g. gives their time and $$) to the them consistently over the years. Not sure why colleges would care about legacy if the college is getting nothing in return?
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1440 replies8 threads Senior Member
    ^An interesting flip side to legacy admissions is for the 80% legacy applicants who don't get in, the school risks a bit of a backlash that it wouldn't have if there were no tip.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7581 replies61 threads Senior Member
    BKSquared wrote: »
    ^An interesting flip side to legacy admissions is for the 80% legacy applicants who don't get in, the school risks a bit of a backlash that it wouldn't have if there were no tip.

    I think this is true. We've talked about this as an alumni group as more and more of the kids are getting rejected. A very active member's daughter applied ED, was deferred, and then rejected in RD. She's landed at a HYPS school so was a very qualified applicant. This woman's younger son didn't even bother applying and is now at another T20 where he was a third gen legacy on his dad's side, and that school rolled out the red carpet. This woman was still volunteering but had backed off a lot and it definitely soured her. They also now donate exclusively to their son's school.

    My alma mater was not a good fit for our D, but I often wonder how we would have felt if she did love it and was rejected. I think it's human to be upset if you love your school, have a well qualified kid, and have donated time and money for decades.
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3540 replies9 threads Senior Member
    edited October 22
    "IMO, legacy helps if the person is still very active in the college (e.g. gives their time and $$) to the them consistently over the years."

    It depends on the school. Some schools track giving and involvement; some don't. My school (along with many others) does not. Look at Notre Dame -- king of legacy admissions. 20-25% of the kids at ND are legacies. So it goes way beyond donors.

    "Not sure why colleges would care about legacy if the college is getting nothing in return?"

    Legacy admissions are more about tuition dollars rather than donation dollars. Most selective schools still reject most legacy applicants. So it is a really poor strategy for getting donations. When my school rejected one of my kids, I stopped giving. That's pretty common.

    But what you get from ENROLLED legacy applicants is very likely a full payor. [Even more so at schools like Penn where legacy has to overlap with ED.] The legacy pool from a selective college will trend strongly upper middle class or better. Maybe not hedge fund plutocrats, but lots of banker/doctor/lawyer type parents. By definition, the legacy pool has zero first gen students.

    Had my school accepted my kid, I would have sent $250k to the school over four years. That's way more than I would ever give.



    edited October 22
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  • twinsmamatwinsmama 1648 replies54 threads Senior Member
    We don't have the means to be big donors or full pay, but over the years my husband gave an immense amount of time to his alma mater - which is so rich it needs time more than it needs money. He doesn't do that anymore. LOL.
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  • 123daehrs123daehrs 3 replies4 threads New Member
    Thank you to everyone for the feedback! I know Georgetown openly says they track alumni involvement and treat it as a "spectrum" when viewing legacy students but does anybody know if this is the same for Upenn? When my mom and I talked to an AO they said it doesn't matter but maybe someone has more info...
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3540 replies9 threads Senior Member
    edited October 23
    I'd rely on what the AO told you. But it does make sense that Penn would operate that way.

    Penn has a very broad definition of legacy --parents and grandparents count. And any kind of Penn degree counts -- undergrad, JD, MBA, MD, masters, PhD. Compare Harvard where you're only a legacy if a parent has a Harvard College undergrad degree.

    Also Penn is a big ED school and Penn tells you to apply ED if you want the legacy tip. So Penn pretty explicitly operates legacy admissions as an adjunct to its size-able ED program. And interest/donations wouldn't be relevant for most ED applicants.

    Gtown operates very differently. No ED, just REA. Gtown continues to use its own application -- maybe the only top school left that does not permit the Common App. Gtown intentionally makes it hard to apply. So the whole drift of Gtown admissions is to focus on kids who really know, get and want what Gtown offers. Given all that, no surprise that they would value involved alumni more when it comes to legacy admissions.

    But don't overthink it. It is impossible to gauge exactly how much boost a legacy application would make for you at either school. Since the combination of the ED/REA rules makes you pick a primary target, go with the one you like the most.
    edited October 23
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  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger 2849 replies155 threads Senior Member
    Legacy is much more than a tip. It's a hook, although not as good as being a recruited athlete.
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  • CUandUCmomCUandUCmom 37 replies2 threads Junior Member
    My kids also had legacy at both Penn and Georgetown. Georgetown legacy can be significant - but the level of activity of the particular alum is huge - a recommendation from a director, if your father's relationships rise to that level, could be significant. Georgetown, though, makes clear that the legacy benefit is realized only during regular decision which differs significantly from most schools, including Penn, where legacy matters only in ED. So, if you are ambivalent and want to maximize the legacy benefit, you can ED at Penn and regular decision at G-town. At the end of the day, though, with both, it does come down to fit and the application matching what the school is looking for and the level of competition with others seeking those same spots (school, major, etc.).
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  • 123daehrs123daehrs 3 replies4 threads New Member
    CUandUCmom wrote: »
    So, if you are ambivalent and want to maximize the legacy benefit, you can ED at Penn and regular decision at G-town.

    Thank you for the advice, that is exactly what I was planning on doing. These schools are my top choices and I could see myself fit at either one. May I ask if your kids had success getting into any of them? If so, any last minute advice for my application?
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  • CUandUCmomCUandUCmom 37 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I just sent you a private message (at least I hope I did!).
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