The Legacy Problem: College Admissions

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  • Topic: Harvard University, Ivy League, Legacy preferences
  • Pages : 3 (934 words )
  • Download(s) : 194
  • Published : January 12, 2013
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The Legacy Problem
Are legacy admissions a real problem for students competing for admission to the same college or is this “problem” just a distortion of the facts? There are those people who feel that students should be admitted to the college of their choice based solely on merit and having a family member as an alumnus of that particular college should have no bearing on the decision to allow the student to be admitted to that college. On the other hand, there are those who feel that being admitted solely under a “legacy,” regardless of their “merit” status, should be permitted because of the many benefits not only to the college but to all of the students of that college. Debra Thomas, a public relations director at Rice University and Terry Shepard, vice president for public affairs at Rice, both defend the practice of legacy admissions. The authors bring up several other arguments defending legacy admissions. One view is that the subject of “legacy” admissions is a minor issue involving only a fraction of students. In-state students get preferential treatment financially over out-or-state students. Comparing the admission of a legacy student to a student admitted on his/her “merit” is like comparing the practice of giving preference to in-state students over out-of-state students. Another reason that Thomas and Shepard feel that legacy admissions should be permitted is because of the financial benefit to the college. Thomas and Shepard point out that, “Full tuition at most private institutions pays for only about 60 percent of the cost of undergraduate education, the only reason any student gets a high-quality education is the generosity of donors. Witness the multimillion-dollar gifts that the Packard family has given Stanford” (Thomas & Shepard, 2008, p. 222). Thomas and Shepard conclude their argument for legacy admissions by bringing up the issue of fairness and rationality. The...
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