How much does legacy status help at top schools even without donations?

<p>I know legacy status helps at top 25 schools, but how much does it help with minimal or no donations nor active participation?</p>

<p>For what it's worth, my legacy son (double legacy) got into a top 20 school and I would say that over the 25 years since H and I graduated, we have given less than $1000 in total ... I doubt it's even hit $500 ... and have not been active in alumni clubs or anything of that nature. In other words, if they gave a boost for legacy, it certainly wasn't because we were heavy-hitting donors.</p>

<p>I've wondered this too. Was your daughter pretty smart/well in the range of applicants?</p>

<p>I spoke with an admissions officer at Harvard who said that legacy was merely a "feather on the scale."</p>

<p>They kind of have to say that publicly though. How would it look if they went around saying that legacy was a huge factor in admissions?</p>

<p>Harvard had 30% admit rate for legacy in 2011 (5 times the rate of the whole applicant pool).</p>

<p>Yale shows 13.5% +of the 2015 admit class being legacy in their freshman profile.</p>

<p>That makes it seem like a huge factor then.</p>

<p>But the legacies I know tend to be just as high-achieving as the non-legacies. I think the not-so-qualified legacies are less likely to apply, because they know they're not going to get in. But legacies in general tend to come from home environments that really push education, and so tend to have good applications. What I'd like to see is the rate of Princeton legacy admissions at, say, Stanford, or Brown legacies at Harvard, to find kids from equally education-pushing homes but who aren't technically legacies.</p>

<p>True. I'm guessing that graduates of top schools end up living well (middle to upper class usualy) and stress education. Surely some end up donating a lot too.</p>

<p>Not me. I know a girl whose parents were both graduates from a particular Ivy who was accepted. Her SAT scores were below 2000 and her grades were OK but nothing compared to other applicants. I guess it just depends.</p>

<p>In my experience, there's a big difference between legacy and development candidates. If you've given a lot of money, even top schools bend enormously. That makes you development.</p>

<p>But legacy is a large factor, money or not, for the highly qualified legacy candidate. I'll repeat--HIGHLY QUALIFIED. The 2350, top of class, strong EC legacy candidate at an ivy has multiples the chance of an unhooked candidate. It's that simple.</p>

<p>However, the 2100, top 10% candidate has little advantage (without money) as the ivies all reject the vast majority--over 75%--of legacy applicants.</p>

<p>Is legacy a significant factor even if you don't apply to a school Early Decision?</p>

<p>I read of one private northeastern university where a legacy only receives admissions preference if you are a very regular donor and/or are active in alumni groups, etc.</p>

<p>A selective public university says that the admissions office has no idea whether a legacy parent has donated, or how much. However, the President's Office still provides them a list of very very large donors who have a son or grandson who is applying. In that case, modest donors don't receive any extra preference.</p>

<p>I read a book that said that many years ago, Harvard did not give admissions preference to legacies if you applied for financial aid.</p>

<p>As of last year, Penn only provided admissions preference to legacies if they applied binding early admission. They said you also received some preference in the regular admissions cycle, but the data showed that there was no preference.</p>

<p>I completely agree with exultationsy's assessment. Being a legacy is helpful to highly qualified legacies; it doesn't get unqualified legacies admitted over better qualified applicants who aren't legacies.</p>

<p>Here's what Harvard says:</p>

**Are a student's chances of admission enhanced if a relative has attended Harvard?</p>

<p>**The application process is the same for all candidates. Among a group of similarly distinguished applicants, the daughters and sons of College alumni/ae may receive an additional look.


<p>Harvard</a> College Admissions § Applying: Frequently Asked Questions</p>

<p>I believe them.</p>

<p>Most people applying to Harvard are highly qualified. The fact that legacy candidates seem to have a 5 to 1 advantage among that pool is not considered an addtional look.</p>

<p>If a candidate is highly qualified (with a weakness in ECs, but those still being decent, and the other weakness income/race), and a parent went to a school for GRAD, not undergrad, will the legacy still help? (Not applying for financial aid, and domestic applicant)</p>

<p>Solid question. Also does anyone know if you have legacy if the parent/other relative attended but did not graduate from the school?</p>

<p>@wannabee My mother attended (during the depression) but did not graduate from (due to finances) a well-respected former women's LAC. When my son applied, he was treated as a legacy applicant, with letters that indicated that the admissions office acknowledged him as a legacy. He was admitted, but chose a different school.</p>

<p>While all of this discussion is interesting, it is not very helpful, particularly without school's names. Schools treat alumni relations differently. Some schools might consider an non-grad attendee an alumni (that was a surprise), others might or might not consider GRAD alums. It depends on the school and you would have to check with the admissions office to find out.</p>

<p>@texaspg: I have certainly interviewed occasional applicants who were not remotely qualified, and a lot of applicants who were perfectly smart and capable, but were never going to attract any serious attention in the applicant pool. A lot of applicants seem to say, "Oh, what the hell?" and apply to Harvard because it's kind of the Xerox or Coca-Cola of American higher education. And on the other hand, I do think alumni probably steer children who aren't viable applicants to other institutions at a higher rate than the general population does.</p>

<p>Erin's Dad makes a very good point, that "top schools" all have their own ways of doing things. I know Harvard College considers you an alumnus or alumna if you ever enrolled, but they treat only sons and daughters of College alumni (as opposed to graduate or professional school alumni) as legacies. But that doesn't say anything about how they operate at Stanford or Duke or Dartmouth.</p>