Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's a business, not just a college

Your child has a better chance of getting into the university from which you graduated than a child with no connection to that university; the child is characterized as a legacy. Conclusions of some studies: being an alumni child means 160 points on the 400-1600 SAT scale; the odds of a legacy being accepted at his or her parent’s alma mater are more than seven times better than an ordinary applicant’s. Legacies make up 22 percent of this year’s freshmen at Notre Dame, 13 percent at Yale, and between 18 and 19 percent at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The rate of legacy preference is getting worse. UPenn admitted 37.9 percent of alumni children in 2005, as against 20.8 percent of all applicants. This year, it took 22 percent of legacies, versus 9.4 percent overall. So legacies were accepted at more than twice the average rate this year, a bigger proportional advantage than in 2005. Georgetown admits 29 percent of alumni children, as against 16 percent of applicants overall.

Here's a real marketing effort. About five years ago, Hanover College in Indiana began sending onesies to newborn legacies, pencil pouches when they start kindergarten, and keychains when they turn 16. Once enrolled at Hanover, every child, step-child, sibling or grandchild of a graduate receives a T-shirt and a $3,000-a-year scholarship. This courtship is paying off: alumni children make up 17.3 percent of Hanover freshmen this year, far above its norm.

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