January 10th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Legacies have advantage, study finds

Just how much advantage do legacy applicants have? A lot, according to a study on legacy applicants by Harvard Graduate School of Education student Michael Hurwitz reported in the New York Times.

The study found that legacy applicants, particularly those with a parent who was an undergraduate, at “30 highly selective colleges” have a large advantage over other applicants. Hurwitz said applicants with the highest SATs got the biggest legacy benefits.

According to the Times article:

applicants to a parent’s alma mater had, on average, seven times the odds of admission of nonlegacy applicants. Those whose parents did graduate work there or who had a grandparent, sibling, uncle or aunt who attended the college were, by comparison, only twice as likely to be admitted.

Legacy admissions are “an increasingly touchy issue for colleges,” the article said, and a senior fellow at the nonprofit organization Century Foundation mentioned in the piece said a legal challenge to legacy preferences is becoming likely.

Since Hurwitz agreed to not identify the colleges, we can only wonder if Yale was part of his study.