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Monday, June 17, 2013
The Best Way to Get into Your College of Choice
You're hoping for an easy answer, right? Like a magical diet pill or an allergy cure.
Actually, there is one. It just won't make much of a difference to most of us. Two words. Legacy admission.
Sure, it's easy to sneer at privileged rich kids. Especially if you didn't make the cut at your college of choice. (Or even if you did-but had to work really hard to claw your way in). Even legacy admits with good academic credentials won't be able to shed the stigma of being handed an education on a silver platter.
The thing is, the stories are really true. By its own reports, Harvard admits around 30% of the legacy admission applicants. By comparison, the university's overall acceptance rate is under 6%. Yale claims to admit 20-25% of their legacy applicants, compared to a 6.7% overall admission rate.
Certainly, the problem is more prominent at selective private schools. This means that both the benefits and the inequities created by legacy admissions are unlikely to affect most students. Still, it perpetuates a system of class elitism that continues to be tightly threaded into the fabric of society. It is a system not based on merit but on money.
And it is really that simple. Alumni are more likely to continue making contributions to their alma maters if their children and their children are students there. Those alumni are more likely to have the resources to pay cash for tuition. And I'll go out on a limb here. People who spend their money generously are more likely to expect something in return.
Arguably, the third-level education system in America is already skewed towards the white and wealthy. A cursory glance at diversity statistics make that abundantly clear. (The litany of reasons why won't fit into this post). So while legacy admissions feed the hungry appetites of university coffers, they may not offer much to society.
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