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Which Colleges Consider Legacy Status?

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In the college admissions process, “legacy” applicants are students with some kind of familial tie to a university. An applicant normally has legacy status at a college if a member of the applicant’s immediate family attends or attended the college, but at certain schools it might also mean a grandparent, aunt or uncle, and cousin. Some institutions restrict their consideration to “primary” legacy, meaning children (or grandchildren) of alumni; others are happy to extend it in any direction, and include both undergraduate and graduate alumni.

Why is legacy status important? The short answer is that being a legacy is very likely to increase your chances of being admitted to an individual college or university, particularly a very elite one. As of last year, the estimated admission rate for Harvard legacies was more than five times that of non-legacies! In the Ivy League, it’s estimated that anywhere from 25-35% of admitted students hold legacy status. That’s a big deal for colleges that admit less than 10% of applicants!

That might sound unfair to you, and indeed, legacy admissions have come under increased scrutiny in recent years as people both inside and outside of universities have called for the most elite schools to abandon legacy admissions. Nevertheless, with very few exceptions, the vast majority of colleges and universities in the United States still consider legacy status.

So what should you know about legacy status? First, be aware that it can strongly affect the higher early decision admission rate at many schools; because most universities primarily consider legacy status in the early round, a disproportionate number of legacies are admitted early, which can drive up that early decision or early action percentage.

Second, if you are a legacy at your dream school, check what kinds of resources exist for you through the admissions office. Many elite schools, such as Brown and Vanderbilt, offer a variety of resources for potential legacy applicants, including personal advising, tours, even application reviews. While not available everywhere, it’s worth checking!

Below is a list of the top 100 universities and the top 75 liberal arts colleges, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, and whether they consider legacy status. Although most either do or do not consider it, a handful do report that legacy is “important” to their process, meaning that applicants with an alumni relation may receive particular consideration when their application is reviewed.

Part I: Top-100 Universities

University Name Status
Princeton University Legacy Considered
Harvard University Legacy Considered
Columbia University Legacy Considered
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Legacy Not Considered
Yale University Legacy Considered
Stanford University Legacy Considered
University of Chicago Legacy Considered
University of Pennsylvania Legacy Considered
California Institute of Technology Legacy Not Considered
Johns Hopkins University Legacy Not Considered
Northwestern University Legacy Considered
Duke University Legacy Considered
Dartmouth College Legacy Considered
Brown University Legacy Considered
Vanderbilt University Legacy Considered
Rice University Legacy Considered
Washington University in St. Louis Legacy Considered
Cornell University Legacy Considered
University of Notre Dame Legacy Important
University of California-Los Angeles Legacy Not Considered
Emory University Legacy Considered
University of California-Berkeley Legacy Not Considered
Georgetown University Legacy Considered
University of Southern California Legacy Considered
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Legacy Considered
Carnegie Mellon University Legacy Important
University of Virginia Legacy Considered
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Legacy Considered
Wake Forest University Legacy Considered
Tufts University Legacy Considered
New York University Legacy Considered
University of Florida Legacy Considered
University of California-Santa Barbara Legacy Not Considered
University of Rochester Legacy Considered
Georgia Institute of Technology Legacy Considered
Boston College Legacy Important
University of California-Irvine Legacy Not Considered
University of California-San Diego Legacy Not Considered
William and Mary Legacy Considered
University of California-Davis Legacy Not Considered
Tulane University Legacy Considered
Boston University Legacy Important
Case Western Reserve University Legacy Considered
Brandeis University Legacy Considered
University of Texas-Austin Not Legacy Considered
University of Wisconsin-Madison Legacy Considered
University of Georgia Legacy Not Considered
University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign Legacy Not Considered
Northeastern University Legacy Not Considered
University of Miami Legacy Considered
Pepperdine University Legacy Considered
Lehigh University Legacy Considered
Villanova University Legacy Considered
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Legacy Considered
Santa Clara University Legacy Important
Ohio State University-Columbus Legacy Not Considered
Purdue University-West Lafayette Legacy Considered
Florida State University Legacy Not Considered
University of Maryland-College Park Legacy Considered
Syracuse University Legacy Considered
University of Washington Legacy Not Considered
University of Pittsburgh Legacy Considered
University of Connecticut Legacy Considered
Rutgers University-New Brunswick Legacy Not Considered
George Washington University Legacy Considered
Loyola Marymount University Legacy Considered
Fordham University Legacy Considered
Southern Methodist University Legacy Considered
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Legacy Considered
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Legacy Considered
Texas A&M University-College Station Legacy Not Considered
University of Massachusetts-Amherst Legacy Considered
Clemson University Legacy Considered
Virginia Tech Legacy Considered
American University Legacy Considered
Baylor University Legacy Considered
Yeshiva University Legacy Not Considered
Indiana University-Bloomington Legacy Considered
Howard University Legacy Considered
Stevens Institute of Technology Legacy Considered
North Carolina State University-Raleigh Legacy Considered
Texas Christian University Legacy Important
University of Denver Legacy Considered
Gonzaga University Legacy Considered
Brigham Young University-Provo Legacy Not Considered
Michigan State University Legacy Not Considered
Binghamton University-SUNY Legacy Considered
Stony Brook University-SUNY Legacy Considered
University of San Diego Legacy Important
Colorado School of Mines Legacy Considered
University of California-Riverside Legacy Not Considered
University at Buffalo-SUNY Legacy Not Considered
Elon University Legacy Important
University of Iowa Legacy Not Considered
Marquette University Legacy Considered
University of California-Santa Cruz Legacy Not Considered
University of Delaware Legacy Considered
University of Utah Legacy Considered
University of California-Merced Legacy Not Considered
Auburn University Legacy Important
University of Arizona Legacy Not Considered

 

Part II: Top-75 Liberal Arts Colleges

Williams College Legacy Important
Amherst College Legacy Considered
Swarthmore College Legacy Considered
Pomona College Legacy Considered
Wellesley College Legacy Considered
United States Naval Academy Legacy Considered
Bowdoin College Legacy Considered
Claremont McKenna College Legacy Considered
Hamilton College Legacy Considered
Washington and Lee University Legacy Considered
Carleton College Legacy Important
Middlebury College Legacy Considered
Grinnell College Legacy Considered
Vassar College Legacy Considered
Colby College Legacy Considered
United States Military Academy Legacy Not Considered
Haverford College Legacy Considered
Davidson College Legacy Considered
Smith College Legacy Considered
Wesleyan University Legacy Considered
Colgate University Legacy Considered
Barnard College Legacy Considered
Bates College Legacy Considered
University of Richmond Legacy Considered
Harvey Mudd College Legacy Considered
Colorado College Legacy Considered
Macalester College Legacy Considered
United States Air Force Academy Legacy Considered
Scripps College Legacy Considered
Bryn Mawr College Legacy Considered
Kenyon College Legacy Considered
Berea College Legacy Not Considered
Bucknell University Legacy Considered
Mount Holyoke College Legacy Considered
Pitzer College Legacy Considered
Skidmore College Legacy Considered
College of the Holy Cross Legacy Considered
Oberlin College Legacy Considered
Lafayette College Legacy Considered
Occidental College Legacy Considered
Thomas Aquinas College Legacy Not Considered
Franklin and Marshall College Legacy Considered
Trinity College Legacy Considered
Denison University Legacy Considered
Union College Legacy Considered
Dickinson College Legacy Important
Whitman College Legacy Considered
DePauw University Legacy Considered
The University of the South Legacy Considered
Connecticut College Legacy Considered
Furman University Legacy Considered
Centre College Legacy Considered
St. Lawrence University Legacy Considered
Spelman College Legacy Considered
Rhodes College Legacy Important
Gettysburg College Legacy Considered
Wabash College Legacy Considered
Bard College Legacy Considered
Agnes Scott College Legacy Considered
Wheaton College Legacy Important
Reed College Legacy Considered
Sarah Lawrence College Legacy Considered
St. John’s College Legacy Considered
Lawrence University Legacy Considered
St. Olaf College Legacy Considered
Kalamazoo College Legacy Considered
College of Wooster Legacy Considered
Wofford College Legacy Considered
Hobart and William Smith Colleges Legacy Considered
Muhlenberg College Legacy Considered
Knox College Legacy Considered

 

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