Ivy League Legacy

Ivy League Legacies, Legacy of Ivies, Ivy League and Legacy

Ivy League legacy applicants are under quite a bit of pressure from their parents (photo credit: Namkota).

There’s an article today in “The New York Times” on Ivy League legacy admission. We’ve written about Ivy League Legacy Admission before in addition to writing about how legacy admission may very well violate tax law. After all, alumni are donating money to non-profit universities and these deductions are tax deductible. They’re not supposed to get anything in return for their generosity. But then their children have better odds of getting into their alma mater. So, in fact, they are often getting something in return.

But this “New York Times” article focuses on the pressure that children of Ivy League grads are under to gain admission to their mother’s college or their father’s alma mater. If both of your parents went to Harvard, there is an expectation that you’ll go to Harvard, too. And what if you simply don’t have the grades and scores? What if you just don’t stand out from your classmates?

Legacy status can certainly help applicants to Ivy League colleges. It can indeed push your application over the edge. But if you have mediocre scores and mediocre grades and are unexceptional in everything else, your legacy status – in most cases – is not going to earn you admission. It’s the exception to the rule when it does in those cases.

So parents should understand that just because they got in and just because they donate money to their alma maters each year – it doesn’t mean your child’s guaranteed admission. Set expectations low. And then when your child gets in, it’ll be exciting rather than expected. Legacy kids are under pressure. Are they under more pressure than the average college applicant who can’t afford the cost of college? We don’t know about that. But they have their own kind of pressure and it’s always good for parents to be aware of this.

Check out “The New York Times” article on Ivy League Legacies here.


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