Is ivy incest a problem when applying to grad school?

<p>I have heard that, for example, Yale grad schools would rather NOT admit an applicant from Princeton, because it's ivy-league incest, and they prefer fresh people with different life experiences. Yet, there are famous people, such as Sotomayor (Pton undergrad, Yale law), Michelle Obama (Pton undergrad, Harvard?) who have been "incestuous" with their education.</p>

<p>How common is it for someone to stay within that ivy-league circle for undergrad and grad school?</p>

<p>It's just as common to stay within the "Ivy League circle" as it is to go outside it. Graduate programs admit students based on their experience, demonstrated research ability, academic achievement, interests, and letters of recommendation. They are not going to turn down an Ivy League grad who is perfect for the program, just as they are not likely to accept him/her just because of the pedigree. </p>

<p>Maybe this is what is catching you up: because the best graduate school programs in any given field are not necessarily located at the best undergraduate institutions, one Ivy League that IS in the top may be more likely to accept an applicant who has done research/studied under a famous colleague at University X. Applicants from the other Ivies may be at a disadvantage if their professors/research/LOR writers are not as distinguished.</p>

<p>The first answer is absolutely right. No one cares. Real academic incest, i.e. undergrad Princeton -> grad school Princeton, isn't even really an issue as long as the school in question has one of the top programs or labs in your (sub)field.</p>

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I have heard that, for example, Yale grad schools would rather NOT admit an applicant from Princeton, because it's ivy-league incest, and they prefer fresh people with different life experiences.

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<p>So the logic would be that because Yale would prefer fresh people with different life experiences, they would rather not admit an applicant from Princeton in favor of somebody not from an Ivy League school such as ... Stanford? Because Princeton and Stanford students are really so distinct? </p>

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How common is it for someone to stay within that ivy-league circle for undergrad and grad school?

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<p>Far and away the #1 most prevalent undergrad school of Harvard graduate students is...Harvard College. Similarly, I suspect that one of the most prevalent undergrad programs of the grad students of any Ivy is its own undergrad program. Hence, I would stay within the Ivy league circle - heck, just staying within the same school's circle - is shockingly commonplace.</p>

<p>I know a guy who went to Princeton for undergrad, was with me at Yale for BSchool, and then went on to get a law degree from Harvard.</p>

<p>Consider Tom Eisenmann. Bachelor's at Harvard. MBA at Harvard. Doctorate in Business Administration at Harvard. Then became a professor at - where else? - Harvard.</p>

<p>Nah, no academic incest going on here, right?</p>

<p>Biography</a> - Thomas R. Eisenmann</p>