fb-pixel Skip to main content

Doing away with legacy admissions may not be the lever some think it is

Students walk out of Johnson Chapel at Amherst College in Amherst in this April 2019 file photo. Amherst College will no longer give admissions preference to the children of alumni, the school announced on Oct. 20, ending a practice that has been criticized for giving an additional advantage to students from wealthier families.Jessica Hill/Associated Press

Re “Legacy admissions should have no place in today’s colleges” (Editorial, Oct. 31): I am a first-generation American, the first person in my family to go to a university. I graduated from an inner-city public school system. I was accepted at an Ivy League university, and I paid for that education by joining the Teamsters union, working as a laborer during the summer, and working in the dorm kitchen during the school year. I love my university and owe it a great deal. Two of my four children decided to attend my alma mater.

I support diversity and affirmative action, but I consider them to be unrelated to the issue of legacy admissions. Since, of course, the legacy applicant must have an application that warrants admission, then the alleged benefit of removing legacy admissions can only be justified by a narrow analysis. If, say, a thousand such legacies are barred from admission to the alma mater of their families, then virtually all would be accepted at another of the country’s top colleges. The result, then, is that the same number of spaces would be available to other applicants. There would be no overall gain for other applicants.


Julian Max Aroesty