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Legacy admission is the process in which a student is admitted because of a wealthy, educated, or important relative or close friend; who once attended a certain university in which that particular student has applied to. The Economist in “_The Curse of Nepotism_” describes legacy admission as “using admission systems as tools of alumni management—let alone fundraising” (Economist 366), while Lowell and Turner in the “_The History of Legacy Admissions_” describe it as “the son or daughter of an alumnus or alumna” (Turner 375). Legacy admissions have been present for a number of years, and continue to be used through out many major universities today. Legacy admission is most commonly seen amongst Ivy League and elite schools across the nation. In the 1920’s institutions like Yale, Harvard, and Princeton formalized their policies that favored children of alumni in order to appease graduate fathers (Turner 375). During the earlier years of this practice schools admitted, “All alumni students who could demonstrate a minimum level of ability” (Turner 375), but now the constant debate of whether this is ethical or not has led to a decline in students being admitted this way.
Although many see it is unethical to accept students into school based off of alumni and the money they can contribute to the school, some feel that admitting students through a legacy does have a positive aspect on admission and to the university.
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Legacy acceptance faces many negative problems and conflicts. Many feel it is unethical, because it neglects students who deserve to attend an elite school with focusing on students who are well off and have alumni parents. Deserving students may be declined an acceptance, but children of alumni who may be less deserving are admitted into the school. In “_Time to Bury the Legacy_” Robert DeKoven points out that George W. applied to Yale with “a C average from high school and a 566 SAT verbal score” (DeKoven 373), but since his father was a legacy he was accepted while others who received higher credentials were rejected. Just because his father was an alumni and a legacy to the institute and country, students who were well prepared and more suitable for Yale did not get admitted into the college. Not only does DeKoven prove this issue, but Mark Megalli touches bases with the subject. He compares the rate of non- legacies with legacies in which his studies concluded that “legacy applicants would be about 200 fewer accepted” (Megalli 379). His studies contribute to what most students who are not of legacy or alumni fear, because they are not being accepted at the same rate even though they are more applicable.
Admitting students through Alumni and legacy is unethical because students are not being admitted fairly into elite universities and Ivy League schools. Since, unfortunate but hard working students are denied to more fortunate students with less of a drive to do well in school, these issues cross corruptive behavior on the university’s behalf. “Legatees are two to four more likely to be admitted to the best universities than non –legatees,” (Economist 366) relates to the unethical controversial issue. Since students of legates are more likely to be admitted into school than to those who are not legates, the students who lack superior status are being neglected, and the university’s refusal to admit them into the school affects their future goals and ability to learn in a prestigious environment. It is also unfair that legacies lead to negligence among minorities. USA today discovered that “now minorities are being excluded from admission preference plans because some colleges are dropping their affirmative action programs” (Today 381). The university’s negligence to minorities is an unfathomable concern and is immoral to their education. It is unethical to deny a minority a reliable education, because the institution would rather choose a less deserving wealthy student oppose to a minority who is deserving and well qualified. Choosing a legatee over a minority is also unfair because it exploits their ability to learn, and since wealth should not interfere nor determine the education one should receive it is unethical. Allowing wealth to overpower one’s education would contradict with the sole purpose of attending an elite school or major university in the first place.
Legacy admission accepts children who have alumni for parents into an institution, and it is an unethical issue because it interferes with the ability of less fortunate students to learn in an astute environment and to be accepted into school. Those who have alums for parents are more likely to be accepted into school than those who are not, and many also see this as unethical because it places wealth and the university above the sole purpose of the institution, which is the ability for one to learn and set goals and achieve their future admirations.
Economist, The. “The Curse of Nepotism.” _2007-2008 First- Year writing: Writing in the Disciplines Texas Tech University_. New York: Pearson, 2007. 366-67.
Schulman, Miriam. “May the Best Man or Woman Win.” _2007-2008 First -Year Writing: Writing in the Disciplines Texas Tech University_. New York: Pearson, 2007. 367-69.
DeKoven, Robert. “Time to Bury the Legacy.” _2007-2008 First- Year writing: Writing in the Disciplines Texas Tech University_. New York: Pearson, 2007. 372-73.
Howell, Cameron and Turner, Sarah E.. “The History of Legacy Admissions.” _2007-2008 First -Year Writing: Writing in the Disciplines Texas Tech University_. New York: Pearson, 2007. 374-76.
Megalli, Mark. “So Your Dad Went to Harvard.” _2007-2008 First- Year writing: Writing in the Disciplines Texas Tech University_. New York: Pearson, 2007. 378-80.
Today, USA. “Preserve Universities’ Right to Shape Student Community.” _2007-2008 First -Year Writing: Writing in the Disciplines Texas Tech University_. New York: Pearson, 2007. 381-82.