‘It’s affirmative action for the rich.’ Five legacy students confront their privilege

By | August 30, 2023


A lot of people have recently weighed in on legacy admissions, the preferential treatment given to the children of alumni in the college application process: President Biden. Members of Congress. Supreme Court justices. Officials at numerous colleges — some defending the practice, others calling to ditch it.

The Education Department even opened a civil rights investigation last month into Harvard University’s legacy admissions policy.

But what about the students who have benefited from the practice themselves, and were accepted by elite colleges in part because their parents are alumni?

In the Opinion Video above, five recent university graduates, all legacies, wrestle with the advantages they enjoyed in the college admissions process.

“It’s painful for me to think that all of my hard work in high school was so irrelevant compared to the fact that I was able to check the box that my dad went there,” a graduate of Brown University says. “There is a pretty natural human shame in admitting that you might not have earned something.”

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