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The “legacy” advantage: Fact or Fiction?

July 5, 2016

A student is considered a "legacy" to a college or university when one or both of their parents also graduated from that same school. There is a lot of debate about how much being a legacy helps your admissions chances, but most agree that they do help your chances. If a student's parents graduated from that university as a graduate student, it usually does not hold as much weight as if the school is their undergraduate "alma mater". 

Legacy advantages are not well detailed by schools, but reports are that it can double your chances of getting into Penn, Brown, Princeton, and the like. The University of Virginia, my alma mater, is rather up front about their legacy advantage. A legacy applying from outside of Virginia will be considered, for admission, not in-state tuition, as a virginia in-state applicant which can double the percentage of acceptances.

In summary, legacy = good! If your student is interested in the school his/her parents graduated from, you should contact the school to make the most of the advantage. Have more questions or comments? Ask Eric



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