College admissions have never been a level playing field. But, contrary to the current political rhetoric, when it comes to which factor gives applicants a bigger leg up at top colleges — legacy status or race/ethnicity — legacy admissions wins hands down. Here’s how:

  • Many top colleges admit more legacy students than Black students*’
  • Children of alumni have a 45% higher chance of getting into top colleges than other applicants**
  • At Harvard University, legacy applicants with high academic ratings were 2X as likely
    to be accepted as applicants with equally high academic ratings who come from households with incomes under $60K*

the real nepo babies of higher ed

* The Future of Fair Admissions Issue Brief 2: Legacy Preferences, (Fall 2022), Education Reform Now

** “The Impact of Legacy Status on Undergraduate Admissions at Elite Colleges and Universities,” (2011), Economics of Education Review