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Perks of being a legacy student can go beyond the admissions office

Stephanie Hughes Jul 31, 2023
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Occidental College, a Los Angeles private school, is among the latest institutions to end legacy admissions. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Perks of being a legacy student can go beyond the admissions office

Stephanie Hughes Jul 31, 2023
Heard on:
Occidental College, a Los Angeles private school, is among the latest institutions to end legacy admissions. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to end racial preference in college admissions, more schools are pulling back on granting preference to applicants who are family members of alumni.

Occidental College, a private liberal arts school in Los Angeles, is among the latest to end legacy admissions. The benefits of being a legacy applicant tend to be focused on the admissions office, where that status might provide an extra oomph to a student’s application. But the perks don’t stop there.

About six decades ago, President Lyndon Johnson called education “the most important door that will ever open.” Legacy applicants got more help then, and get more help now, opening those doors.

“It’s kind of like the difference between walking into a party and not knowing anybody and walking into a party and you know everybody there,” said Jennifer Jessie, an independent college admissions consultant in Virginia.

Legacy applicants know people who have been to the party and can make calls on their behalf. 

“You’re probably going to get a private tour,” Jessie said. “You’re not going to have to go on the normal tour. You’re going to have more one on one.”

That kind of informal access can give applicants a better sense of how the admissions process works, which can boost their chances of getting in, according to Mamie Voight, president and CEO of the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

She also pointed out that there are big financial benefits to being a legacy, such as scholarships specifically aimed at them. “We’ve even seen some instances where students who are out of state can qualify for in-state tuition at a public institution if their parents are members of the alumni association,” Voight said.

That can make the difference between being able to attend or not. Sometimes, the benefits continue once a student has enrolled.

“Where they have access to special welcome receptions or even early move-in opportunities so that they can move in to the dorms before other students,” Voight said.

She added that these kinds of things can help students adjust to college, which could better equip them to graduate.

So, legacy students are not only more likely to get into the party — they’re more likely to avoid a hangover once the party ends. 

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