What do you think? Should colleges take legacy into the admission decision. The Wall Street Journal asked to experts to debate this issue in a column in yesterday’s paper. As an intro to the debate the Journal provided the following set-up.
Many colleges ask applicants if they have a parent or grandparent who went to the school. The student’s answer is often the difference between acceptance or rejection.
At some of the country’s most selective colleges, one study has shown, having an alum parent boosts the applicant’s probability of acceptance by 45 percentage points. That is, if one candidate has a 30% chance of admission, an applicant with the exact same academic record and extracurricular activities but also a parent who attended the school as an undergraduate would have a 75% chance.
Both sides in our debate agree that legacy admissions once were used to give preference almost exclusively to white, male students. Today, however, supporters of legacy admissions point out that diversity has become so well-established on campus that the legacies themselves are multicultural. And the preference being shown to a few, they say, is more about boosting alumni giving and school spirit.
Its critics, meanwhile, argue that the custom is still discriminatory. To base college admissions on any criteria other than merit, they say, runs counter to America’s democratic principles.
Taking the pro-legacy position is Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president emeritus and university professor of public service at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Making the opposing case is Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, in New York City who edited the 2010 book “Affirmative Action for the Rich: Legacy Preferences in College Admissions.”
READ MORE: Click belowthe original article from The Wall Street Journal, written by staff