<p>How important is Legacy to Columbia? Are they forced to look at your application if you have legacy there? I've heard that's the case for other schools.</p>

<p>Well, they're forced to look at your application in the sense that they're forced to look at every application they receive....</p>

<p>What exactly constitutes a legacy? Is it only if one of your parents has attended Columbia that makes you a legacy? What about grandparents or siblings who've attended?</p>

<p>Legacy at Columbia is questionable. My dad went to the graduate school of business but apparently it only "counts" for legacy if your relative attended Columbia College. That's what they said when I visited, but I have a feeling it's kind of b.s.... if your parent is smart enough to get into Columbia, they're smart enough to get into Columbia, end of story...there's no reason that it would matter whether it was undergraduate or graduate...</p>

<p>Legacy status has nothing to do with how smart your parent is...they don't give preference to legacies in the hope that good genes have made the legacy kids smarter than the rest of the pool. It's all about alumni loyalty and donations. That means if your parents went to Columbia as undergrads, they're most likely giving $$ to Columbia's undergraduate schools...and that's the only kind of donation they care about at the office of undergradute admissions.</p>

<p>So to answer the question, actual legacy status at Columbia is given strictly to applicants whose parents graduated from CC or SEAS (understandably so, for the above reason). If you are a legacy, your application is put in a separate pool with other legacies and the admit rate from that pool ends up being higher than the overall average.</p>

<p>That's not to say they absolutely don't care if your parents did graduate from any of Columbia's graduate colleges. They see all of your parents' education info on your application, and when they see that your parents went to a Columbia graduate school they do give you a slight advantage (granted that you are already comparable to other top applicants in the pool). But you won't get actual legacy status, so whatever advantage you get as the child of a grad school alum will generally not be quite as favorable.</p>

<p>You don't understand that there are some schools/programs within Columbia that are a lot easier to get into than others.</p>

<p>That is why your argument fails; another the reason why they care about undergrad is what nightowl said: alumni donations.</p>

<p>so legacy only applies to parents who went to CC or SEAS? Uncles, cousins, grandparents - are they taken into consideration at all?</p>

<p>odmo: Correct. Only if your parent graduated from CC/SEAS do you get "legacy" status. It is also worth noting that if you have legacy status, you are entitled to an on campus interview with an adcom(this also applies if you are a son/daughter of a prof).</p>

<p>I agree with Night Owl--it's all about the money. But it deserves to be mentioned that the whole idea of "legacies" arose from Anti-Semitism in the 1920's. In order to keep Jewish Americans out, colleges, notably the Ivies, instituted a policy of giving preference to sons and daughters of alumni, something which sons and daughters of Jewish European immigrants obviously couldn't be. Harvard went even farther, instituting a policy of only accepting "Harvard Men." However, it also deserves to be noted that Columbia was, by far, the least discriminatory of the Ivies, and consequently has produced the second largest number of Nobel Laureates (tied with either Harvard or Oxford--I can't remember) because of the many Jews they let in during the mid 20th century. </p>

<p>And to speak to the sibling issue, no, they don't count. However, I'm told that because my brother was apart of a Fraternity at Cornell, I would have legacy status at that Fraternity, lol.</p>

<p>(Kind of an off-topic post :))</p>