Elite Colleges Practice More Favoritism than Anybody Realized

Barry Lenson

Elite Colleges Practice More Favoritism than Anybody Realized

It’s been common knowledge for years that if you’re applying to the college where mommy or daddy went, you have a much better chance of getting in. How much better chance do you have if you are such a “legacy” student? Nobody knew until Michael Hurwitz, a graduate student at Harvard, conducted some research into the question recently.

Here’s what Hurwitz discovered about admissions practices in 30 highly selected American colleges, as reported in a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:

  • If your mother or father earned an undergraduate degree at an elite college or university, you have a 45.1 better chance of getting admitted than other applicants do.
  • If other relatives attended, you have a 13.7 better chance.

Sounds discriminatory? Well, it is. But then again, you have to remember that StraighterLine lets 100 percent of everybody take classes, including the sons and daughters of our former students. Guess we’re part of the problem too.


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