Chance me: Brown ED as a privileged, complacent legacy

Ask them to buy you a container ship. Worth more, and a lot more living space. And an easy commute to LA or SF.

Or even just a container.

Legacies’ admission odds typically run around 30-35% at the Ivies. Go for it. ED application sends a signal that you’re Burning for Brown.


4 times the acceptance rate for legacies. That’s a huge advantage.
Some legacies might even make Ivies their match schools.


No. Faculty and staff children with the right academic chops-- match.

A run of the mill legacy? No way.


Legacy often matters more depending on how much money the parents have given the school. The annual $1000 giving is too low to count.

Here’s another thought on legacy.
Suppose you do get accepted to Brown. Will you be OK going through life not really knowing if you got in because of your accomplishments or because of your parents’ accomplishments?
For some, it is a very real consideration.

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At least the legacies can think about this privately if it matters to them, unlike visible URMs in many situations, who may face assumptions from others that they only got in because they were URMs, even if they were accomplished enough to do so even if not URM, or their colleges did not consider URM status when they were admitted.


Not really. The benefit of legacy status, as with URM status, for an applicant is like financial leverage: each small increase in academic qualification results in a progressively larger and larger boost to one’s chances of admission.

IOW, legacy status doesn’t help a marginal candidate. It will boost admission odds for a great candidate (ie an applicant who’s in the top two deciles by academic merit) from significantly less than 50% to somewhere around 50%. Legacies with crappy or mediocre academics almost never get admitted; their odds are not much higher than they would be for a non-legacy with similar academics, ie <1%.

So it’s not accurate to say “If not for legacy, I would not have been accepted.” More accurate to say, “If not for the combination of superior academics AND legacy, I probably would not have been accepted.”

That doesn’t sound like much of a heavy emotional burden to anyone with any experience of outcomes in a big, complex advanced society.

Again, OP should ignore the FUD here and go for it. Good luck to you!


Sadly this happens to even the most accomplished and deserving of students.

My son was lucky enough several years ago to work for a start up founded by several upperclassman that were black (he is white). These founders were both extremely qualified students and successful entrepreneurs.

None the less when my son was allowed to attend external meetings (as the most junior member of a team) he was on several occasions approached as the founder and person in charge. He was quick to highlight his subordinate role but shocked at what had transpired.

He described being pissed off and couldn’t believe people would have such overt biases.

What bothered him the most was that his bosses (and friends) weren’t surprised and explained it was to a certain degree an experience that he gone through many times.

Anyone who underestimates the latent challenges faced by URM kids and diminishes their acceptances at elite schools is naively discounting both the totality of what these kids over come and how amazing and qualified they are.

Racism isn’t just getting pulled over for DWB or being followed throughout a store, it is far to often more subtle but equally as harmful and hurtful.


There was an article on that subject regarding interactions with venture capitalists:

Bloomberg - Are you a robot? (original publication, may be paywalled)

For black CEOs in Silicon Valley, humiliation is a part of doing business (same, if the above is paywalled)


I naively didn’t realize how common my kid’s experience was. Very easy as an older white guy for me to have assumed things that shouldn’t happen don’t happen.

Just so wrong!!


If OP or anyone else wants to get some insight into exactly how much “leverage” is provided by various hooks, including but not limited to legacy status, s/he should spend some time with the exhaustive datasets and related analyses that Prof. Arcidiacono assembled for the trial involving another Ivy League institution’s admissions policies. (Search for “arcidiacono” and “exhibit” and “trial.”)

Go to pp. 127-130, Tables Table B.6.5, B.6.6 and B.6.7 – these show the data that include Legacies ie the “expanded” dataset – and see the “ordered logit estimates” for every potential demographic and other applicant attribute and their effects upon the admissions ratings for the key admission criteria.

The key, as Prof. Arcidiacono explains, is how the rating for each changes as you move from the left-hand column’s ordered logit estimate to the far right-hand column. This shift, from left to right, represents the amount of manual intervention by the AdCom designed to reconfigure the outcomes for each cohort.

IOW, the gap between Column 1 and Column 6 will show you how much of a “boost” is given to each cohort, with boost defined as how much the ordered logit changed from what would be predicted by a simple model (Column 1) that controlled for the key admission factor – the score given for Academics, “Personal” or character assessment, etc.

Here’s the punchline: the AdCom’s intervention to boost Legacies is roughly equivalent to the boost given to First Generation applicants. Each of these cohorts is slightly below average on the Academic scale (Column 1) and is given a modest boost by the AdCom’s process (Column 6). Specifically, Legacies’ ordered logit goes from -.265 to -0.040 and First Gen applicants’ ordered logit goes from -.215 to -0.036.

Again, Legacy is a very minor boost. First Gen students get roughly the same boost. In each case, this is a small fraction of the boost given to the other favored Admissions categories, as per multiple analyses of the data supplied by this Ivy League institution’s Office of Institutional Research. (Their own internal analysis of 10 years of data yielded the same conclusion, btw.)

So go ahead, use the card you have: if you’re Legacy, let them know. If you’re First Generation, let them know. Neither will help much if you’re not in the top two academic deciles, and if you are, you’ll get a modest bump that’s nowhere near as large as the boost given to athletic recruits and the other favored categories.

Best of luck!


Not entirely accurate. A “disadvantaged” candidate has a boost which is close to that of legacy, so likely being first-gen, on its own, won’t provide that high a boost.

You’re not reading Prof. Arcidiacono’s “Exhibit A” correctly. Per the Harvard data / Harvard taxonomy, “Disadvantaged” and “First-generation” are broken out as two distinct categories. Again, see page 127 of Arcidiacono’s “Exhibit A” submitted at trial. That’s where the above data points came from.

Afr-Ams get by far the highest boost, followed by Recruited Athletes, then Latinos. Legacy and First-gen are about equal and are far below those three candidates above. It’s all there on page 127 of Exhibit A.

btw, according to that data, certain “Disadvantaged” candidates are, um, actually disadvantaged. They don’t get a boost – most likely because of the rather cynical practice that Prof. Arcidiacono describes in detail on p. 12 of Exhibit A. It’s shocking, actually.

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Move on from discussion of Peter Arcidiacono, please

In the interest of keeping the thread on track, in response to OP jilyan32’s concerns and her request for help from the adults here:

Do I still have a chance?
Absolutely. Go for it. Academically, you’re in the top quartile, maybe even the 2nd decile. As a legacy with a strong academic rating, your odds of admission in ED are significantly above 25%, maybe s.t. like 40-45%.

be honest and give suggestions
Your odds of being admitted to a top UC (UCB, UCLA, UCSD) as a non-resident are next to nil. You have better odds at Brown.

Your list should include U. Michigan. Very good odds of admission there, and you’d thrive. Wisconsin should also be on your list. Both schools are outstanding – world-class, really – at Math and any STEM subject you’d care to explore. Michigan also has an excellent Theater program, and Wisconsin’s rowing team is a powerhouse. Everyone fits in at these schools. No one is left out.

Your odds of getting into Michigan are probably a bit better than 50%. Wisconsin is likely a safety for you.

Good luck!

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Agree that UMich and UWisc are great schools and could be good choices for OP, but odds are markedly lower at both assuming OP missed the EA deadlines.

This student is a Southern Cal resident so she should definitely apply to the top UCs. For what it is worth, 3 kids went to UCLA, 2 to UCSB and 1 to UCSD from our LPS in MA last year, so I don’t think chances are actually nil for out of state students.


ah, I see that now. Sure, apply to the UCs – your odds are actually not bad for the top schools, based on this official data “Admissions by Source School” made available for every high school that has 5+ applicants to any UC campus.

For example, for a certain “upperclass private high school” located in Studio City, CA, here are the average weighted GPA of the applicants from that particular prep school to each top UC campus and the average weighted GPA of those admitted from that school.

UCB …applicants: 3.91 (66 females) admits: 4.12 (11 females)
UCLA .applicants: 3.88 (63 females) admits: 4.02 (8 females)
UCSD .applicants: 3.86 (57 females in 2019) admits: 4.09 (16 females in 2019)

To find this info, navigate as follows – it’s a bit confusing: Type your school’s name in the School search bar (after selecting the button “CA Private school” on the left-hand rail) and then be sure to also select, from the gray tabs on the navigation bar, “FR GPA by Yr” :

(btw, the UCs limit the number of courses that can be factored into your UC-weighted GPA, and they include only 10th-11th grade courses, so your UC-weighted GPA is likely somewhere between 4.15 and 4.21).

So Thorsmom66 is correct. OP, you are above the average weighted GPA for admits from this particular elite school and therefore have a better-than-average chance – relative to the admission rate for that particular school – of being admitted.

OTOH, even this school’s 2020 female applicants had, on average, only 17% admission odds at Berkeley and 12% admission odds for UCLA.

So your odds for UCB are perhaps around 25-30% and for UCLA maybe 20-25%.
I’m guessing your odds of UCSD admission are closer to your Brown admission odds: 40-45%.

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Brown has an acceptance rate of around 7%. Everything else is just guessing and not very helpful. The admission process for these types of schools is, unfortunately, subjective and arbitrary. There’s just no way to know without applying and seeing what happens.

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Totally agree.

If you look back through the decision threads for Brown and similar competitive schools, you’ll see plenty of applicants with high academic profiles who did not get accepted, and plenty of applicants with lower academic profiles who did get accepted.

Years ago a friend of mine worked in the Brown admissions dept. She said even with all her experience, she would never make guesses on whether an applicant would be admitted or not. The only way to really know was to be at the table when an application was being discussed.