The Advantage of Legacies

Legacy Advantage, Advantage of Legacy in Admissions, Admissions Legacy

There is a Freudian slip in a piece in “The Huffington Post” that we’d like to point out to our readers.

There is an article up on “The Huffington Post” by Luke Zarzecki, Whitney Young, and Morgan DiVittorio entitled “Do Legacy Students Gets a Leg Up in College Admissions?” No need to read the article. The answer, as the loyal readers of our college admissions blog know, is yes. Duh. Is the sky blue? It sure is. Legacies are the children of alumni to a particular institution and there is indeed a rationale for choosing the children of alumni over non-legacy students if all else is just about created equal. We’ll simplify it for our readers. Money. Creating that tradition — of one generation following the next to a university — leads to more (and bigger) donations to the institution. Loyalty has its rewards.

Highly selective colleges rely on those major donations to build their libraries, their swimming pools, their football stadiums. Football stadiums certainly don’t build themselves. The $20 million donation can build the library and secures an alum’s name atop the building. So with all of this in mind, we invite readers to read the following passage that we’ve included below from the piece up onĀ “Huffington Post.” And do read it carefully.

As the piece states, “But at the University of Chicago, legacy status doesn’t give an applicant a better chance for acceptance. According to deputy dean of admissions Veronica Hauad, being a legacy does make the applicant stand out to admissions counselors, but it won’t get them into the college. ‘Being a legacy student doesn’t usually help or hurt a student’s chances of getting into college, like any other ‘hook’ in the process,’ Hauad explained. ‘A hook is a little something in an applicant’s file that makes them noticeable — for example, legacy status is a hook, but so is being a first-generation student with parents who never graduated from college. We are excited about both of those kinds of students.'”

Goodness gracious. This quote doesn’t make any sense. On the one hand, she says that legacy admission is not a hook that will help a student’s case for admission but then a bit later in the quote, she asserts that legacy status is a hook. Freudian slip. Of course legacy status helps a student’s case for admission to any highly selective college, including the University of Chicago. Can the applicant have nothing else going for him and still earn admission on the sole basis of being a legacy? Of course not. Well, actually it’s happened. But typically not. And yet it doesn’t mean it doesn’t help. It sure does, even at the University of Chicago.

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