right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: AMALehigh is a rising sophomore at Lehigh University, majoring in Finance. He answers questions about academics, networking, finance, Greek life, or Lehigh in general. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our July Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

What is a "hooked" applicant?

Aryakhan81Aryakhan81 35 replies11 threads Junior Member
I've been looking through the forums (especially the "chance me!"s and the "actual results" threads) where people list their stats, ECs, etc. and I notice many students listing themselves as "unhooked applicants."

What does this mean? What constitutes a hook?
21 replies
Tagged:
· Reply · Share
«1

Replies to: What is a "hooked" applicant?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10131 replies118 threads Senior Member
    A hook is something like a recruited athlete, child of a major donor, URM, legacy....
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30391 replies59 threads Senior Member
    @momofsenior1 , has it right. It can, however, depend upon the college what a “hook” is. A hook generally puts your application in a while other pool so that you are competing for a spot among those with that same hook. Say, you are a recruited athlete that the school wants. Actually, the school, the athletic department, the coach, all are looking a number of like athletes and you are so hooked along with those athletes so that you are competing for that spot amongst those with the same athletic skills, not with the 800 SATs, and 4.0 averages.

    Legacy applicants often have a special “pool” where they are assessed amongst like candidates too

    That’s what “hooks” are, something that distinguishes your application so that you are no assessed the same way as everyone else without a hook, or given extra consideration for admissions due to it.
    · Reply · Share
  • john3572john3572 6 replies2 threads New Member
    @momofsenior1 , has it right. It can, however, depend upon the college what a “hook” is. A hook generally puts your application in a while other pool so that you are competing for a spot among those with that same hook. Say, you are a recruited athlete that the school wants. Actually, the school, the athletic department, the coach, all are looking a number of like athletes and you are so hooked along with those athletes so that you are competing for that spot amongst those with the same athletic skills, not with the 800 SATs, and 4.0 averages.

    Legacy applicants often have a special “pool” where they are assessed amongst like candidates too

    That’s what “hooks” are, something that distinguishes your application so that you are no assessed the same way as everyone else without a hook, or given extra consideration for admissions due to it.
    A hook is something like a recruited athlete, child of a major donor, URM, legacy....


    Could you elaborate a little bit as to who would qualify for the "legacy pool"? My parent graduated from Stanford but hated it and hasn't donated much money, and I don't even know if he's even registered with the alumni network etc .

    If I'm technically a legacy at Stanford, will I be competing with other legacies on the basis of who's parents have given the most/been the most involved, or will I be competing within that pool based on my own merits as an applicant?
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10131 replies118 threads Senior Member
    Usually legacy admission only helps if you are applying early decision. It’s also not as strong of a hook as the others.
    · Reply · Share
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5344 replies89 threads Senior Member
    john3572 wrote: »
    Could you elaborate a little bit as to who would qualify for the "legacy pool"? My parent graduated from Stanford but hated it and hasn't donated much money, and I don't even know if he's even registered with the alumni network etc .

    If I'm technically a legacy at Stanford, will I be competing with other legacies on the basis of who's parents have given the most/been the most involved, or will I be competing within that pool based on my own merits as an applicant?
    Usually legacy admission only helps if you are applying early decision. It’s also not as strong of a hook as the others.

    Agree, adding that some schools do track alum donations and involvement, and place alums in different tiers based on that data. These levels are taken into account when the alum's child is applying. I do not know if Stanford uses this system.
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83345 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited June 28
    Common "hooks" include the following, but not every college considers all of them (or any of them), and how big each one is (if considered) depends on the college:

    * Recruited athlete.
    * Legacy (definition may vary in terms of what relations are considered).
    * Development or other special interest (e.g. relation of huge donor, important politician, celebrity).
    * Faculty or staff relation.
    * Underrepresented minority (definition may vary).

    The only one of the above that the applicant earns or contributes to is recruited athlete. All of the others basically depend on parentage and/or parental actions. All except for underrepresented minority tend to be correlated with greater advantage compared to the rest of the applicant pool to begin with.

    Note that small colleges with full sets of sports teams will have recruited athletes consume a larger percentage of their admit classes than large colleges with similar sets of sports teams. Small colleges may also look more favorably at sports extracurriculars for those who are not recruited athletes, since they may want to have a sufficient pool of potential walk-on athletes.
    edited June 28
    · Reply · Share
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6659 replies10 threads Senior Member
    The benefit that you get as a Stanford legacy is that your application will get read twice. If your parents were major donors, you'd get put into a different pile.make a

    So yes, you should indicate on your application where asked that your parent is an alum. But it won't give you a huge edge.

    At other schools, legacy status can be more beneficial.
    · Reply · Share
  • hopedaisyhopedaisy 123 replies3 threads Junior Member
    A top stat student at my son's high school, his parents were alumni at Stanford. They donated $1.5 million for a building but he still didn't get in (in spite of his top scores and stellar EC's). So there are no guarantees even with hooks.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30391 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Yes, Stanford gives some legacy preference. There is a legacy pool, but it is a competitive one. Yes, it helps in the admissions offs but not as much as at most schools because the admissions percentages are so small anyways.

    Development is a whole other pool. How development and legacy intertwine is not an exact formula. Those who bestow huge amounts to a school have benefits regardless of legacy status.

    You don’t have a development hook at Stanford but you do have a legacy hook. All other things equal, yes, it gives you an advantage over an unhooked applicant. I do not know if at Stanford, it only holds for early decision as it does at Cornell and Penn, as some examples. Stanford does not have ED, to begin with; it offers Single Choice Early Action. So I don’t think legacy is linked to that, though I suggest you ask the Admissions Office there.

    Each school has its own dynamics for admissions and hooks and legacy.
    · Reply · Share
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6659 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Stanford's "second read" policy is for any round of admission. Or so they said at a reunion. But it's not a preference, per se, simply insurance against a grumpy first time reader.

    And they said that major donor kids essentially get their odds doubled from 5% to 10%.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30391 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Where you can see legacy preference is in the % of legacy students at top schools, and the acceptance % of legacy applicants as compared to unhooked applicants
    · Reply · Share
  • LindagafLindagaf 10791 replies587 threads Super Moderator
    Being first generation to college or from a low income background can be helpful. Being from an underrepresented state can give a boost, totally depending on the school. Major national awards will help.

    A non-donating parent is probably not going to do much for your app if you don’t have an otherwise standout application.
    · Reply · Share
  • CCEdit_SurajCCEdit_Suraj 78 replies157 threads Editor
    @Aryakhan81 This is a great question -- we recently covered this topic in a College Confidential article, which you can find here:https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/what-are-hooks-in-college-admissions
    · Reply · Share
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5344 replies89 threads Senior Member
    edited June 29
    16.2% of Stanford's class of 2023 are legacies, another 1.5% come from a family with a history of 'philanthropy'.

    We don't know how many Stanford legacy applicants applied for this class, so we can't compare acceptance rates to the overall class of 2023 acceptance rate of 4.34%.

    But, with about 1 in 6 members of the class of 2023 being legacy, it seems there is a significant bump for legacy in the process at Stanford. I also don't doubt that the vast majority of admitted legacies have worthy stats and achievements.

    https://www.stanforddaily.com/2020/06/26/nearly-18-of-class-of-2023-are-legacy-students-or-relatives-of-donors-report-reveals/
    edited June 29
    · Reply · Share
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9852 replies377 threads Senior Member
    OP is rising junior in Washington (state) who's from an "upper middle income" family, but I don't think he's a legacy. His PSAT is ~1450, but he's #1 in his class and currently has a 4.0 UW GPA. So he's competitive for some elite schools, but it doesn't sound like he has a hook unless his family is willing/able to be full pay.
    · Reply · Share
  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1639 replies8 threads Senior Member
    The legacy hook is a tricky one to analyze, although you can look at trends as far as its advantages are concerned. When I attended Yale in the early 80's, the percentage of legacy student was between 20-24%. Today it is at around 12%. When my kids applied, the AO through both a letter and in a direct phone call, told us that legacy kids as a group had higher academic stats than the general accepted student body to potentially cushion the blow of the rejection. So theses days, I doubt there are too many academically inferior legacy students walking around campuses at highly selective colleges, unless they happen to have a second hook which allows for lower academic qualifications. However, this is not to say that an advantage does not exist. If the acceptance rate of similarly qualified (including other hooks) applicants, legacy vs non legacy, is higher for legacies, then they do have an advantage. This is certainly the case for Harvard as the litigation data showed.
    · Reply · Share
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5344 replies89 threads Senior Member
    OP is rising junior in Washington (state) who's from an "upper middle income" family, but I don't think he's a legacy. His PSAT is ~1450, but he's #1 in his class and currently has a 4.0 UW GPA. So he's competitive for some elite schools, but it doesn't sound like he has a hook unless his family is willing/able to be full pay.

    OP said one of their parents graduated from Stanford in post #3.
    · Reply · Share
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7894 replies84 threads Senior Member
    I doubt there are too many academically inferior legacy students walking around campuses at highly selective colleges, unless they happen to have a second hook which allows for lower academic qualifications.

    This. I have heard Admin people from 2 super-selective schools say that they could fill a class just from legacy students, and they take a lot of heat from disappointed alums.
    legacy kids as a group had higher academic stats than the general accepted student body

    I have watched a fair few alums of top-tier schools realize how much the entry standards have gone up since their day, such that not only would they not get in anymore, their kid with super-high stats is no shoo-in either. Tough on parents who expect their kids to do as well as they did in the academic prestige stakes- and even tougher on their kids when it doesn't work out.
    · Reply · Share
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9852 replies377 threads Senior Member
    @Mwfan1921, post 3 isn't by the OP.
    · Reply · Share
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5344 replies89 threads Senior Member
    @Mwfan1921, post 3 isn't by the OP.

    Oops, my bad, apologies.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity