Few elite colleges in the midst of choosing their freshman classes like to admit how often they give preference to legacy applicants, a practice that largely benefits higher-income students and by some estimates can double or even quadruple an applicant’s chances of getting in.
That’s why I should not have been surprised that most colleges I asked about this wouldn’t talk about it or release their data. They have reasons: giving preferential treatment to the children of alumni who can most afford to pay clearly benefits colleges, and is not something they want to broadcast when the pandemic is complicating budgets and enrollment predictions.
And let’s face it: exclusive colleges and universities with annual costs as high as $80,000 have already endured an awful lot of bad publicity. Weren’t the lies and cheating of the Varsity Blues admissions scandal supposed to usher in a new era of transparency, with all those promises of an overhaul to follow?
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