3 years ago
Admissions Advice

How will legacy affect my application?

Hello! I am currently a junior in high school with average stats and extracurricular activities (I'm working on that). I am currently studying for the ACT in hopes of getting a 30+ and I am looking to apply to Cornell University in the fall of 2021. My mom, my aunt, and my uncle attended Cornell University for their undergraduate degrees and I am wondering how that would affect my chance of admission? I currently have a 1-11% chance of getting in for regular admission but Cornell considers legacy if I apply for early decision. That being said, if my chances are already quite low, how much of an impact would legacy really have?


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@jseo02112 years ago

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Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Cornell will consider you as a legacy because of your mom attending ( your aunt and uncle do not count ) and give your application a boost.

This boost will only occur if you first apply to Cornell's ED Early Decision program after you commit to them. Besides UPenn, Cornell is the only school that exclusively only considers legacy applicants during the early ED cycle. Historically, ED admits rates were in the low 20s as compared to the overall acceptance rate around 10.5 to 11%. Legacies all make up about 1/4th of the admit pool during the ED cycle so about 450 students. Since it is anticipated that all Ivy admit rates are down this year, the Class of 2025 ED rate could be less than 20% but we won't know until months from now since Cornell tends to keep figures under wraps as much as possible.

For the class of 2024, there were 3296 matriculations and 450 legacies so the actual number of legacies at Cornell is 14% compared to Harvard. In addition, the 25th to 75th percentile for ACT Scores was 32 to 35 with an average score of 34.

I would err on the side of caution if I were you and strive to get at least a 33 ACT score even if you are a legacy and do whatever you can to get your grades up since the average UW GPA is 3.90.

It would be pure speculation to guess your chances as a legacy but fair to say that they are above 11% for sure.

3 years ago

From my research, Ivy Leagues tend to love legacies. Recent reporting has shown that upwards of 1/3 of Havard's class of 2022 were legacies. They claim it's so they can provide low-income students a free ride, it's far more likely they want to increase the chances of alumni making donations. Think of your legacy status like any other hook (such as being first-gen or a person of color, basically hooks are meant to increase diversity), it isn't going to a major part of why you will get admitted or rejected from any school, it's just a nice bow on top that may help you get an acceptance letter coming your way.

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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