Does being part of a “legacy” give a student an advantage in the admissions process? How much?

Application Process

Our counselors answered:

Does being part of a “legacy” give a student an advantage in the admissions process? How much?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Does being part of a “legacy” give a student an advantage in the admissions process? How much?

It surely should, but to what extent no one knows.

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

Does being part of a “legacy” give a student an advantage in the admissions process? How much?

At many schools being a legacy can be a big advantage. This is especially true if the family has remained an active member of the alumni community and the student applies early.

Jessica Brondo
Founder and CEO The Edge in College Prep

Does being part of a “legacy” give a student an advantage in the admissions process? How much?

Most schools do admit to slightly favoring legacies, and it is definitely a quality worth exploiting if you can, but schools won't turn down a very strong, non-legacy candidate in favor of a mediocre applicant who is a legacy. If anything, a legacy status could simply serve as the tie-breaking factor between two equally good applicants. There are many reasons why legacy students often make up an unusually large percentage of a college's class- they are more inclined to attend that school if their parents did, and similarly they are more likely to apply in the first place, and if they are as smart as their parents, as children usually are, then they are probably similarly qualified, and thus likely to get in, as their parents were!