Does being a legacy really affect your ability to get into a certain college? Do aunts and uncles count toward being a legacy?

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Christine VanDeVelde, *Author, College Admission: From Application to Acceptance Step by Step

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Some schools give special consideration to “legacies” -- the children of alumni. Other schools, often public universities, for example, explicitly state that legacy status provides no special consideration in admissions.

Among colleges and universities that do recognize legacy, it is usually limited to the son or daughter of a graduate. At some schools applicants will be considered legacies if a parent or grandparent is an alum, or if a sibling already attends.

You should also know that it's policy at a few colleges that for a legacy to receive extra consideration in the admission process, the student must apply under an early decision or early action plan.

Legacy status never ensures acceptance or rules out rejection. In the colleges’ admission decisions, it can confer anything from a slight benefit to a more significant advantage. But only the college or university itself can tell you how legacies are treated in the admission process. If you are a legacy, you should ask the schools about their policy.

Here are some other questions you might ask:

• What is the admit rate for legacies versus nonlegacies by decision plan? • Is there anything in particular that admission officers look for in legacy candidates that is distinctive from nonlegacies?

Christine VanDonge, Senior Research Analyst

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Good Afternoon! While being a legacy can help a student, particularly if you are on the cusp, I think some put too much stock in the possible affects. Unless your legacy is a very well known individual at the University, it is unlikely that having an aunt/uncle or other extended relative impact your chance of acceptance. For a student who is on the cusp of acceptance (i.e. the have earned the appropriate SAT/ACT scores, have an appropriate GPA, and have relevant extracurricular) being a legacy might give you that little extra bump you need. It is always worth putting in your application if the information is specifically requested; however if you are not directly asked I would consider not just "slipping" this information in.

Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions.

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