The Ivy Coach Daily

November 6, 2021

Legacies Are Rarely Denied Early Admission

Legacy applicants who don’t get in Early Action / Early Decision are rarely denied admission outright. Rather, they’re deferred to the Regular Decision round.

If your child applied Early Decision or Early Action just a few days ago to your highly selective alma mater, don’t worry too much about your child being denied admission in mid-December. That’s right. There is a strong chance — in spite of the school’s very low admission rate — that your child will not be denied admission outright in just a few short weeks. Now, does that mean your child will be getting in? Not necessarily. But if your child doesn’t get in, it’s much more likely he or she will be deferred rather than denied. Curious why?

It does not serve a college to deny a legacy applicant outright in the Early round. After all, legacies are often the children of donors — or potential donors. Why not let these parents think that their children really are being considered for admission…even if it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever get in during Regular Decision. In elite college admissions parlance, this is called a “courtesy deferral.” Yes, if your worst fear was that your child was only deferred because of his or her legacy status, your worst fear has merit.

When students who did not work with Ivy Coach first come to us after a deferral to a school at which one or more parents are alumni, we don’t mention that it could be a courtesy deferral to the student. After all, there’s no benefit to the student to suggest as much. But we will tell the parent(s) because it’s important they know. After all, if the student was deferred at a top school in the Early Decision / Early Action round, the parent might think the student has a shot at other top schools in the Regular Decision round when that may not in fact be the case since the student was only deferred as a courtesy.

Have a question about courtesy deferrals for legacy applicants? Let us know your question by posting it below.

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