5 months ago
Admissions Advice

Who's considered a legacy? + Child of Staff chances?


I'm a soph in high school, and I know that I don't apply for college anytime soon, but I was curious about this question: Who's considered a legacy?

I know what a legacy is, but I wanted to see if I would count as one. My dad currently works for Northwestern, and he also attended the University to complete a couple of courses. Would that make me a legacy? (Also, bonus question, how do colleges know if you're a legacy?)

As I mentioned before, my dad works at NU. Will my status as a child of staff help in my admission?


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Accepted Answer
5 months ago

Legacy status specifically at NW is considered as someone whose mom or dad earned a 4-year degree. Merely attending NW and not graduating doesn't qualify as legacy status.

All colleges ask the question "did your parents attend this institution and earn a degree?" or something similar to that effect in their supplemental questions. I remember seeing the question on the Harvard supplemental on the Common App.

At USC, legacy extends to grandparents and siblings as well but for most top schools, it's only the parents who qualify if they earned an undergraduate degree there (most will not consider graduate school as being legacy either).

In most cases, the direct benefit of having a parent who is an employee of the university has to do with the benefit of reduced tuition for the family. Now if your father is the Provost or Department Chair of the Communications School, that might give you some provisional clout which has to do with politics and optics. I'm sure the kids of the Dean of this or that school would be more welcome at NW than if they travelled 10 miles away to go to UChicago. So perhaps, they would get some kind of a bump or incentive to stay part of the NW family. Unless your parent has executive standing, I personally can't imagine that the admissions team would ease up on the admissions criteria for kids of employees.

Also given that admit rates are now pushing 7%, there is more competition given more applications. I would recommend applying ED because the acceptance rates are perhaps 2-3 times more favourable.


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