How Much Does Being a Legacy Help Your College Admissions Odds?

As Harvard, Notre Dame, Georgetown and others pledge to increase diversity, admitting the children of alumni at higher rates complicates their efforts

Top colleges have pledged to become more socioeconomically diverse, but the admissions edge many give to children of alumni may make that goal harder to achieve.

.. At the University of Notre Dame, the University of Virginia and Georgetown University, the admission rate for legacies is about double the rate for the overall applicant pool, according to data from the schools. At Princeton University, legacies are admitted at four times the general rate, or roughly 30% compared with about 7% overall over the past five years, the school says.

Legacy applicants at Harvard University were five times as likely to be admitted as non-legacies, according to an analysis of admissions data from 2010 through 2015. The numbers—33.6% for legacies and 5.9% for those without parental ties—were submitted in a June court filing for a case claiming Asian students are being discriminated against in the name of greater diversity at the school.

..  Diversity initiatives have led to complaints by white students that minority students have a leg up. Meanwhile, highly qualified Asian students say they should get more slots based on academics. Both say long-standing traditions like legacy admissions soak up coveted spots.

Advocates for considering legacy status argue that favoring the children—and, in some cases, grandchildren—of graduates helps maintain an engaged and generous alumni base and lets students serve as ambassadors to new campus arrivals.

Cornell University President Martha E. Pollack has said legacy admissions help perpetuate “a Cornell family that goes on for generations.” In an interview with the student newspaper in May, she said the practice isn’t about giving preference or an advantage to legacies, but such a designation is one of many “balancing factors.”

.. “I really don’t see how our best universities can continue to justify this practice,” said William Dudley, Federal Reserve Bank of New York president, in an October speech. “Such an approach only preserves the status quo and constrains economic mobility.”

A handful of elite schools, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California Institute of Technology, don’t consider legacy status in admissions.

.. calling for a dozen schools, including Brown University, Duke University, Swarthmore College and Emory University, to review their legacy admission policies.
.. Legacy preferences, which historians say were originally developed to keep Jewish students from prestigious colleges in the early 1900s, generally benefit applicants who are wealthy and white
.. Calling legacy admissions a “classist, racist institution,” Brookings Institution senior fellow Richard Reeves said, “There is an inescapable hypocrisy of an institution saying, ‘We are going to be open and meritocratic,’ and maintaining a hereditary privilege.”
.. Legacies made up roughly 5% of the applicant pool and 15% of this fall’s entering class at the University of Virginia.
.. “ ‘Special consideration’ refers to the longstanding practice of the dean of admissions and his staff carefully reviewing applicants whose parents or grandparents are alumni before final decisions are made
.. say much of the differential in admission rates can be explained by legacy applicants’ higher academic credentials and cultural fit. They say legacies also enroll at higher rates than other accepted students.

Max Boot’s Weak Defense of Harvard’s Affirmative Action

“You don’t necessarily want a student body made up entirely of bookworms . . .” This point is often made in defense of race-conscious admissions policies, but it always seems to me to be an attack on a strawman. Who argues that colleges should ignore musical talent, charitable works, or athletic ability? And where’s the evidence that positive non-academic qualities are generally correlated with race? From the proposition that not all students should be bookworms, it does not follow that therefore colleges should put a thumb on the scale for whites over Asians and for blacks and Hispanics over whites. But that logic would have to be valid for Boot’s argument to be pertinent to the controversy.

.. The Supreme Court, by the way, has rejected this kind of remedial justification for racial preferences, in part because it frowns, for obvious reasons, on using race as a proxy for other variables.

..  “There is, moreover, value in a diverse student body. You learn more about life if you go to class with people who are different from you — who have different abilities, different geographic origins, different social classes, different sexualities, different religions, different political views and, yes, different ethnicities.”

.. Boot has only so much space to make his case, so it would be unfair to infer from the fact that he does not substantiate or specify the alleged benefits of this diversity that it cannot be done.

.. Are we really supposed to believe that Harvard is trying with all its might to ensure that the campus has plenty of Pentecostals, Italian-Americans, and Trump supporters?

 

America’s No. 1 voter fraud conspiracy theorist goes down in court

The right-wing candidate for Kansas governor has degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Yale. But to watch him war with figments of his imagination — a fictional army of fraudulent voters — makes one think of that old ad campaign: A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

.. Kobach, Kansas’s secretary of state, produced no credible support for his theory that large numbers of noncitizens are illegally voting in American elections. Thus, the Kobach-inspired law requiring Kansas voters to provide documentary proof of citizenship is ­unconstitutional because it imposes the burden without a reasonable ­justification.

.. “At most, 67 noncitizens registered or attempted to register in Kansas over the last 19 years,” the judge found. Of those, only 39, at most, actually ended up on voter rolls, put there largely by clerical mistakes, not fraud.

.. “Some applicants told the . . . clerk that they were not citizens, yet the clerk completed a voter registration application” anyway.

.. “Given the almost 2 million individuals on the Kansas voter rolls, some administrative anomalies are expected,”

.. For that matter, human errors have recorded 400 Kansas voters as having birth dates subsequent to their dates of registration.

.. Kobach, as much as any individual, is the author of right-wing mania over mass voter fraud.

.. Ducking and dodging so vigorously that the judge, a Republican appointee, held him in contempt of court, Kobach tried to argue that the tiny number of mistaken registrations actually proves the existence of a vast horde.

.. He “insists that these numbers are just ‘the tip of the iceberg.

.. Kobach may be a victim of his own success — or a textbook example of the Peter Principle

.. Winning the post of secretary of state in 2010 placed him in charge of Kansas elections, giving him the tools he needed to prove the righteousness of his quest.

.. Like Joseph McCarthy waving his phony list of communists, Kobach reached a point where he had to put up or shut up.

.. “Defendant already has prosecutorial authority over Kansas election crimes. Yet, since obtaining this authority . . . Defendant has filed zero criminal complaints against noncitizens for registering to vote.”

.. Robinson required Kobach to complete a ­refresher course in trial procedure before he can renew his law license — quite a smackdown for a former law professor.

 

 

After Studying the Lives of 724 Men for 79 Years, Harvard Reveals the 1 Biggest Secret to Success and Happiness

.. researchers concluded that close relationships are what make men happy, and that social ties shield people from life challenges while improving mental and physical health.

.. It turns out that flourishing in life is a function of close ties with family, friends, and community. It had nothing to do with fame, wealth, social class, IQ, genes, etc.

.. Social connections are good for us; loneliness really kills.

While calling loneliness toxic, Waldinger said social connections made people happier and physically healthier. It made them live longer too.

On the other hand, he also said:

“People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely. And the sad fact is that at any given time, more than one in five Americans will report that they’re lonely.”