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Demosthenes's avatar

Are legacy admissions fair?

Asked by Demosthenes (14561points) March 20th, 2019

There’s a part of me that wonders whether I would’ve gotten into the university I attended had I not been a legacy (both parents attended)—it was even asked about on the application. My grades were good, but not outstanding (I got a B+ in physics!)

How fair do you think it is for being a legacy to have any effect on your likelihood of admission? Should it be something colleges should phase out or should it be up to the individual institution if they want to take legacy status into account?

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15 Answers

hmmmmmm's avatar

No, it’s not fair. Nothing about college is fair – especially who can afford to go to college.

Of course people whose parents attended a university should not be given preference. For starters, if your parents both went to college, it’s likely you have advantages that should be offset in admissions considerations.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I agree with @hmmmmmm, but it also reeks of elitism, prejudice and other unsavory class issues.

”...which underscores how legacy admission was often times used initially as a tool to discriminate against Jewish applicants. And it questions why the practice is still used today.”

stanleybmanly's avatar

They’re fair in the sense that you enter college with the first great lesson: just as with life itself, college can be defined by its inequities.

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canidmajor's avatar

Not fair, certainly, but understandable from the school’s perspective. A happy alum will donate! An unhappy alum won’t.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You didn’t have to take a SAT to qualify?

gorillapaws's avatar

No, and promoting the kids of wealthy parents to the top over more deserving students (that worked harder and are smarter) does our country and economy a disservice.

Sayd_Whater's avatar

Yes! Extremely unfair! It’s just like getting the savings or debts of your parents when they die. Ppl know it’s unfair but it’s still seen as very natural.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^ You don’t inherit your parents debts.
If they want you to have their savings then it not unfair. It’s what they wanted.

seawulf575's avatar

Our upper education system is amazingly corrupt. When you get the president of a University making 5x what the POTUS makes, plus benefits, there is something wrong. What is amazing to me is that so many people want to have the government foot the bill for a college education yet they don’t want to actually protest or aggressively address where that money goes to. And unfortunately, there has been a campaign for decades to make people believe that you have to have a college education, or else. Not everyone needs a college education and there are many people that get a degree and never use it.
So with such disconnects within our higher educational establishments, is it any wonder that the admissions are corrupt as well? It is training for how the elitist class in this country want to run things…cronyism at the top of the list.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@seawulf You know some believe its a liberal education camp. No joke.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, upper education gives people more knowledge and they become better critical thinkers, so there is that.

seawulf575's avatar

@Dutchess_III in theory, anyway. I know plenty of college grads that have zero ability with critical thinking.

Demosthenes's avatar

So, since we all seem to agree that taking legacy status into account in college admissions is not fair, what should be done about it? Is it just something we have to hope is phased out? Should there be a law against it?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Affirmative action wasn’t very fair either, but it was never illegal. If they’re private schools they can pretty much do what they want, I think.

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