Did your kids hate being a legacy?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Did your kids hate being a legacy?
By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 09:48 pm: Edit

There is tension between me and some of my classmates because I am a legacy at 2 ivy league schools that many are applying to. How did your kids deal with this problem?

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 10:09 pm: Edit

My legacy kid didn't apply to the Ivy to which he was a legacy. Problem solved.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 10:11 pm: Edit

Same situation here. Older son had no interest in going Ivy though he is a legacy. If younger son applies to an Ivy, by his choice, it won't be the one where he's a legacy.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 10:13 pm: Edit

Because he didn't want the advantage or was he just not interedted in the school?

By Athlonmj (Athlonmj) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 10:24 pm: Edit

I don't see why you wouldn't apply to a school just because you have an advantage in getting into it, it doesn't make logical sense to me. If you are interested in a school and you have legacy on your side, by all means, go for it. Don't let other kids who don't have legacy dissuade you.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 10:29 pm: Edit

My parents agree that I should apply. They point out that there are minority students and athletes applying from my school who will also have an advantage. My peers who don't have one of the advantages are angry, and I know if I get in it will be said it was only because I'm a legacy. Some of these people have been my friends since first grade, and I hate to see college cause tension between us.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 10:42 pm: Edit

If they were really friends, they wouldn't be angry at you for being a legacy. Presumably every person who applies to a top college has some advantages. Getting angry at the other candidates is just plain narrow minded and silly.

You do realize that your so-called friends are trying to discourage you from applying because they think that will boost their chances? Why follow pressure from "friends" like that?

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 10:55 pm: Edit

Thank you Northstarmom, you're right. I have worked very hard and one of the schools is truly my first choice. It is just very hurtful and confusing that people are suddenly acting this way. Even parents have made snide remarks to my parents. I really want to feel I have earned my way. I am at the top of my class and I do have the school's highest SATs. Deep down I know I shouldn't feel bad.

By Kinshasa (Kinshasa) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:13 pm: Edit

My S won't apply to the school at which he is a double legacy... actually, a triple legacy, if you count two undergrad/one grad degrees. Though not an Ivy, it's an extremely selective school. Reason: "I'm not going to live your life!" He ruled it out immediately.

By Bioeng (Bioeng) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit

I was also legacy to two ivies. I was informed by the adcom that legacy would only help if one applies ED. And the help comes in the form of a second look if one fails to be admitted from the first reading. It's really not that much help. Most of the legacy kids that get in are well qualified in their own right. Legacy will never get you in if you are not what they are looking for. I went to a very competitive HS in SF. Even though many of my classmates were applying to the same schools I was, they never made the legacy an issue. They knew well enough that there is no wisdom nor glory in going to a school that one doesn't deserve. It is not a game of name dropping. It's about getting the best fit. It's also about fate. We were all rooting for each others.I didn't apply ED, only because I really didn't want to limit my choices. At the end, many of my friends and I all get into the schools we wanted, including the two "legacy" schools. Everybody was happy for each other. I am now going to one of the two with a few of my friends. Our frienship is stronger than ever.

By Mstee (Mstee) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:16 pm: Edit

Go for it, and don't feel bad. Good luck! Your true friends will be happy for you if you get into your #1 choice.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:18 pm: Edit

Its not surprising that they are aggravated with you, particularly if they read this board.

However, my son and his friend were legacies at (different) HYP schools this year. both with 1500 plus boards. One above 1570. Both applied early. Both deferred. Neither admitted.

If you think there is any truly material advantage, you are wrong (and so are they).

My son commented to me in early December that he felt pressure because his classmates thought it was a sure thing, lock, free pass (you pick the term) for he and his classmate, while I kept pointing out that 2/3 of legacies at these schools are rejected. He knew that, but they didn't want to know it.

It is quite possible that your parents have overestimated the importance of being a legacy. The legacy pool at the Ivys and other top schools is remarkably qualified from a stats perspective. Good luck to you.

Regarding your "friends". Be very nice and polite to them, and learn. This is your first lesson in real life. Every success you might have (as well as any prospect of success) will bring you other lessons.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:24 pm: Edit

My college counselor was kind enough to share with everyone that I am what she called an "extreme Legacy", i.e. my Grandparents were major benefactors and our name is attached to several things at one school.

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:38 pm: Edit

My son's GF is a double legacy at a particular Ivy. She's not applying for that reason. I don't think it would cause tension unless the student who is the legacy flaunted the situation.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:46 pm: Edit

At small private schools like my own, where most of us have gone for all of our schooling, people know every detail about everyone's family.

By Bioeng (Bioeng) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:48 pm: Edit

Annieivy, which school do you go to? I don't understand why you counselor would even think of sharing this kind of info with anyone. It has absolute no merit nor constructive quality to anyone or anything. This is truly a very strange case. Does the administration know about this?

By Helicoptermom (Helicoptermom) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:49 pm: Edit

I agree with Dadx. My daughter was a double legacy at the Ivy in which she ultimately enrolled. At first she didn't even want to look at the school because (a) she didn't just want to go where her parents had gone, and (b) she thought everyone would think she got in because of her parents. When she finally visited the school and fell in love with it, a lot of kids did tell her she would "definitely" get in early because of the legacy. They were wrong; she got deferred, while another kid from her school, a recruited athlete with similar stats but no legacy, was admitted early. Although my daughter was ultimately admitted regular decision, other legacies we know--also with good stats--were not.

So the good news is that no one should assume that being a legacy is an automatic ticket to admission--which is also the bad news; if you really love the school, you'll probably have to sweat it out just like everyone else. Of course my daughter wasn't anything like an extreme legacy--both her father and I are alums, but we don't have lots of money to donate--and of course your guidance counselor should have preserved your privacy. Still, I'd only worry about having an unfair advantage in the admissions process if your qualifications really aren't up to the level of the school (in which case it might not be the right place for you anyway).

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 11:50 pm: Edit

Momsdream, is your son's GF someone who could have a good shot without benefit of legacy status? I have a 1580 SATI and an unweighted 4.0, these are the schools I would have applied to regardless. This is why I'm so astonished at prevailing attitudes.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 12:30 am: Edit

My counselor justified telling others my legacy status because she felt it "fair". She explained that as our school gets 2 or 3 people into each of these schools each year, people needed to know I could likely take one of those places at both schools so they could plan accordingly. My mom wants to go to the trustees over this but I don't want to make any more of a fuss than there already is. Opinions on this?

By Voronwe (Voronwe) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 12:52 am: Edit

Wow, a lot of other people are in my family's situation: my kids are Ivy double legacies and none applied to the school!

As for Annieivy possibly taking a place at both schools - just apply to one ED. And go to the Trustees why? To complain about the GC? I'd let it go. Get on with your life (I'm not saying that in a rude way....).

By Bioeng (Bioeng) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 03:11 am: Edit

Annieivy, I do not understand nor accept the excuse you GC gives. First of all, one could never know how many a certain college would accept from a school. If you ask any adcom, they will tell you they don't have a quota for any school. For instance, there are two ivies and Stanford that have accepted more than twice the usual number of kids from my class this year.Secondly, the logic of discouraging your students to apply to the school they want just because there is one student that has a higher than usual chance does not fly. As a GC, he/she should know that there are more qualified students than any school can admit, luck plays a large part to these application processes. As a student, one should always go for their dream with a realistic prospective. Thirdly, other than legacy, athletic and social recruiting practices have an even more sure-fire garrantee on admissions. Would your GC discourage other students from applying just because there are a few great athlete-scholar applying to the school. By sharing with other students about your legacy, he/she has put undue pressure on you and your application. That is a disservice that is unacceptable for him/her to commit in his/her capacity as a GC. To me, it equate to malpractice of a professional. For the sake of future students, I think this matter should be brought to the trustee of the board of directors. Just my $.02.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 07:38 am: Edit

I have to side with the GC, though I also sympathize with Annieivy. The GC was being realistic. It's up to the parents to decide whether or not to encourage their child to apply given the information available, and that includes the fact that one of the applicants has a significant legacy hook. The GC's job is to lay out all the information that he can give. When my older S applied to colleges, his GC informed us that our school had not been successful in placing students in a well-known LAC though it had steadily sent students to all Ivies. That was useful to know. I see the legacy information as being in the same category.

Having said that, Annieivy is right to think that she is a very strong candidate based on her own record, regardless of her legacy status. She should go for the college of her choice with a clear conscience. As for her friends, she may wish to chalk up their animosity to the tensions created by the college application process if she feels generous. If not, she is entitled to consider them fair weather friends. As for the friends'parents, I think it is they who are behaving disgracefully.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:38 am: Edit

I think the counselor was way out of line. Your legacy status is no one else's business. And IMO your parents should talk to the overseers about it.

There also is no guarantee that because you're a legacy you'll get in. No matter how wonderful your stats are, you still could get rejected.

By Patient (Patient) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 10:59 am: Edit

Annieivy, I feel kind of bad for you because you did nothing to put yourself in this situation except be born into a particular family!

Northstarmom, she mentioned above that she is an "extreme legacy", as in major benefactor grandparents. The term I usually hear for this is a "development candidate", not just "legacy", and it is reserved, at the major schools like the Ivies, for people who have given millions of dollars--in other words, maybe one or two applicants a year, I would bet. I doubt very much, unless you are socially reprehensible, that you will be rejected from such a school.

But you have also worked hard and earned your right to apply to these schools. It is hard for me to understand why anyone would resent you for something over which you have no control--your family heritage. If I could offer you any advice, it would be this: try to figure out if you have a clear preference for a particular school and if you do have, apply ED and get it over with. In fact, you said you have one clear favorite--but maybe that one is one where your legacy is not as strong? Then I'd probably still apply ED there, knowing that if you don't get in, you have another pretty clear shot in reserve. If you really can't decide, go ahead and apply and just keep being the same person you are. With your family background, you'll be facing this kind of jealousy from some corners all your life. It is unfortunate and it is by no means universal, but it will happen and that's just the way things are.

I happen to know a family that is in that position in our area. They are just the nicest, most modest people, all have chosen really interesting careers and have given generously--extremely generously--to their communities in all kinds of ways. I never hear a resentful word about them because of the way they live. But their kids do, of course, all get to go to the school they have benefitted so generously over two generations.

Do you know for sure that your GC actually said these things to people, or did they just know them on their own? Usually wealthy families with names on buildings are pretty easy to identify without someone saying anything. In fact, you said as much in one of your posts (everyone knows everything about everyone else)--so how did what the GC said, really change anything except make the connection between number of places available and the effect of being a development-type legacy candidate?

I kind of cringe with the advice that your mom should go talk to the trustees or whatever governing body. That's just more wealth and privilege throwing its weight around. Maybe you could take it upon yourself to talk to the GC about the issue and if she is not receptive, your parents could also. But I wouldn't go right over her head. You can see from this message thread that it is not an easy question as to whether or not she erred in what she did.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:39 am: Edit

>>Because he didn't want the advantage or was he just not interedted in the school? >>

If this is directed at my post...DS was not interested in applying to any of the Ivy League schools including the legacy one (double, by the way). The do NOT offer the major he is studying.

DD is also not interested in the Ivies. She wants to go to school outside of New England where the weather is warm. Sorry....no warm weather Ivies are out there.

RE: your guidance counselor telling others about your legacy status...YOU have a right to privacy and I do believe your GC violated that. If others figure out your legacy status on their own, that would be fine, but to me, this is information that either YOU share because you want to or it should not be shared. It's too late now, but I would be writing a letter to the adminstration of the school telling them that your privacy rights and right to having confidential guidance in the college process has been violated. I believe your GC was VERY out of line telling others about your situation. Does that GC also tell about family incomes, kids with poor grades, etc?

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:43 am: Edit

I agree with Patient. You are a great student. Don't let anyone undermine your confidence in yourself. Go for the school that you think is the best fit for you, whether it is the one that has plaques with your family name on it or not. You will find, when you get to college, that it will be less of an issue than being the child of a member of the faculty.

By Patient (Patient) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:44 am: Edit

I don't think it was a violation of her privacy. Her family's name is on buildings, for goodness' sake. If that isn't public record, what is? There are alumni directories at all the schools I know about, where it is easy to look up the names (and addresses, phone numbers, names of children, etc) of all the alums even those who didn't choose to list themselves. Privacy is for things that no one could easily find out about. I don't think this qualifies.

Indiscreet and cause for a private talk with the GC, maybe. But not appropriate to go crying to the board of trustees.

By Achat (Achat) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:46 am: Edit

I think the parents of the OP's friends are acting horribly. She is a great candidate no matter what.

I think she should apply with no hesitation.

By Achat (Achat) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:51 am: Edit

Marite, I thought members of faculty did not get preferential treatment or even a minor advantage. Do they? I know there is a place to indicate where your parents work but...

I know most schools waive tuition (or partially waive) for members of faculty and staff.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 12:34 pm: Edit

I'll try to answer all of your questions. I go to a small private schools that educates the children of many wealthy and famous people. At no point before this did I stick out. Yes, we live well, but many of my classmates live way more obviously so and have parents way more identifiably wealthy. But most of them are children of entertainment industry people and not ivy legacies.

If I did not have this pressure, I would like to wait until May to make my decision. I had many obligations to a project I did this summer, and did not have the opportunity to visit several schools I would still like to see. The irony is the only schools I know well is the 2 ivys, as I've gone often with my family over the years.

A friend's parents told mine what the counselor was doing. I asked her about it and she admitted it. No one would have known that our name was on buildings. We actually have a name shared by many. The counselor happens to know because an adcom mentioned this to her.

I did talk to the adcom. What she told me is what I wrote above about it being the fair thing to do. There is a lot of pressure on her and she explained that a lot of the parents expect they can buy their was into these schools. I do appreciate that she doesn't want kids to end up without good options.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 12:36 pm: Edit

I meant to say I talked to the counselor.

By Monydad (Monydad) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 12:45 pm: Edit

They resent you because they are jealous. You have an advantage to get in to a school that maybe only 2-3 from your school can get accepted to, and you did nothing to earn this advantage. Even good friends would resent this at some level if they wanted these schools; this is just human nature.

This didn't come up with my daughter because she had no interest whatsoever in my alma mater. What are the odds that the school that was the best fit for me thirty years ago is really the best fit for her, absent the fact that she might get in? She elected to apply where she actually thought would be best for her, whether or not she could get in to some other school that wasn't. Of course your situation may be different.

There are alumni and then there are alumni. The "little" ones, like me, would probably earn her a slight advantage on ED and a second look at the file. The "big " ones, like the building donation people, are in.

There are a number of people at my daughter's school who were in the "big" boat. They were known to be "in" at Harvard, Yale, wherever it was, from infancy. Everyone in their family went there. They were better than average students mostly but not at the top of their class. Of course this was resented when there are very few spots available.

I don't see why someone would feel bad for you, in this situation. You have a "hook", and you're going to use it (like anyone who wanted to get in there would, by the way). Advantage you. But obviously you can't expect the others who don't have that hook to be happy about it. Not when there are limited places.

By Patient (Patient) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 12:45 pm: Edit

Annie, thanks for the explanations and I feel bad, again, for you that this has happened. Now I understand a little bit better that this was more private than I understood. And maybe I'll modify my thoughts a bit--since you have talked to her, and she seemed open to discussing it although defending her position, could you and your parents ask for a meeting with her and her immediate supervisor (rather than leapfrogging to the trustees)? At this point, I think it isn't going to change the situation, but perhaps there is a way that she can talk to kids about these issues in the future that doesn't feel so much like an invasion of privacy. I do feel that it IS her job, to some extent, to advise everyone fairly and to make them aware, at least in a general way, that although they may be well-qualified, there are other considerations such as legacy and other hooks that may cause them to not get into a particular school, and to "cast a wide net". I really don't think that you can fault her for this, although perhaps she could have been far less specific in identifying YOU as the person.

I am sorry for the pressure you are under and it doesn't seem fair. You are an outstanding candidate and since you say you don't know enough to decide right now, you go right ahead and apply wherever you want. You have just as much right to go to the college of your choice as anyone else, and to apply to those schools that you think you might want to attend.

I went to private high school in your area, for all I know it is the same one, since you mention entertainment types. Best of luck!

You asked about how to deal with this. I don't have any creative ideas about it except to do what you're doing: focus on learning, your activities, those friends who don't resent you. When I was applying a gazillion years ago, one of my best friends was a legacy at my first choice school and I wasn't, although I had better grades/scores/ECs. I do remember anticipating that I would feel bad if she got in and I didn't, but we just didn't talk about it and we managed to stay friends. I got in, she didn't, but she went to another Ivy nearby and we used to visit each other in college, and we stayed good friends. It may be tough for a few months but just try to stay busy and rise above it.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 12:59 pm: Edit

>>it being the fair thing>>

Oh please...what is "fair" about telling one particular students assets...unless, of course, they are blabbing about everyone's strengths and weaknesses. I believe the GC was more than indescreet. I think she/he was wrong.

Now...to respond to the OP...if you really want to wait until May to make your final decision, AND if you really want to visit other schools, then do NOT apply ED. You have wonderful stats and experiences to bring to the application process and will undoubtedly attend a fine university. Do what you need to do for YOU...not what others think is best for you. It sounds to me like you really aren't sure about these Ivies as your primary choice, but that since you are a legacy and since you have seen them, you should apply ED. If you feel you would like to explore other options, I would urge you to do so. Applying ED should only be done (in my opinion) because the student absolutely wants to attend that school above all other possible choices.

By Patient (Patient) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 01:03 pm: Edit

Yes, I agree with Thumper that you should resist any pressure to apply ED since you don't sound sure.

By Monydad (Monydad) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 01:06 pm: Edit

Personally I don't think it's particularly honorable that you would be seeking to hide your "hook" from your fellow students, given the limitations on the number of places. At least in the case of my daughter's school everyone knows about it. To me, to be honest, the fact that you are seeking to disguise it makes you look even worse; both the unfair hook AND being sereptitous about it. I would think your fellow students would feel worse about you since they had to hear about this from the GC and not from you yourself. It's like you were trying to hide it from them. Heck, it is that you were trying to hide it from them.

By Mini (Mini) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 01:26 pm: Edit

My d. applied to the school where I went, though, honestly, I'm about 99% sure she would have gotten in without the legacy advantage. There was a piece of me that wanted her to attend, of course (which is kind of funny, in retrospect, because the school, where I received a stellar education, was nonetheless not a great fit for me when I attended.) But, after two visits, and my wanting her to like it, both of us were convinced it just wasn't the right place for her. The campus culture was just wrong - great for somebody else, not for her. The moment she arrived on her current campus, she knew it was the right place - you could virtually feel it in her body language.

And, again, looking back it - would she have applied at all if she wasn't a legacy? I don't know - I'm sure she would have had we NOT visited -- the academic offerings were quite fine in many areas she wished to study (though, again in retrospect, and in comparison, surprisingly weak in others.) But I think she ended up applying to please me - in fact, if I wasn't around, I doubt she would have applied at all.

The fact that one is a legacy, or born into a family with money is a fact of chance (or Divine Providence, you can take your pick.) There's no reason to fret about it - just make sure you use the opportunities with which you are presented for the good of others.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 01:27 pm: Edit

There were many ways that the counselor could have addressed parents' misconception in thinking they could buy their kids way into an Ivy.

The counselor, for instance, could let students know that being a legacy can boost students into Ivies, and that there are Ivy legacies at their school. It is, IMO, inappropriate for the counselor to be naming names.

Just because a student is a legacy or their parents or ancestors gave huge donations doesn't mean that this is info that is well known.

Along similar lines, counselors also may realize that some students will have advantages because they are first generation college, low income (which exists for scholarship students at prep schools), or are URMs, but don't broadcast that fact. (For example, students may be registered tribal members or Hispanic, and simply not choose to share that info with their peers).

The counselor would be acting very inappropriately to share specifics about such info to other students.

In general, students who are wise are not going to broadcast their hooks to their peers, and they have no obligation to. For example, my older son was one of the tops in the country in an out of school EC. While his EC was known to many of his classmates, they had no idea how strong he was and how unusual his accomplishments were.

We did make sure that the GC was aware of this. However, it would have been very inappropriate if the GC had been telling this to other students in discouraging them from applying where S applied.

IMO students and parents should spend their time making sure that students' applications display their accomplishments in the best light. In addition, students and parents should do the research to find out what kind of students in general are accepted and rejected by various colleges.

Students aren't just competing with their classmates. The world is big, and there are many extraordinary students hoping to go to top colleges. It is stupid and narrow minded to think that the competition rests only with one's immediate peers.

By Lefthandofdog (Lefthandofdog) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 01:56 pm: Edit

I agree with Northstarmom. It is very inappropriate for a GC to reveal this kind of information. If it was okay, why not post everyone's SAT scores, GPA, income and weight while they're at it? In the case of ivy league schools, there is a perception that legacy is everything and it is not. It is a "tip" factor. I feel for the ivy legacy - if they get in, everyone assumes it's because of their special status; if they're rejected, they are more in the public spotlight than a non-legacy would be. I've known of several instances in which legacy candidates were rejected. The OP has very strong stats. and may fare well, but it is never a sure thing as so many factors go into it. It's incredible to me that a GC could be that insensitive to everyone's feelings. Makes me wonder if they are new to the game.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 02:15 pm: Edit

>>Makes me wonder if they are new to the game.>>

It made me wonder if the GC wanted "bragging rights".

By Monydad (Monydad) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 02:53 pm: Edit

At a certain point, at highly competitive schools students are in fact competing with their classmates.Based on what I've read and observed, top schools limit the number of students they will take from a particular high school, or area.

They're also competing with each other internally as a matter of status. When person A gets rejected from Ivy 1 they feel bad when person B gets accepted to Ivy 1, but they also feel bad when person B gets accepted to Ivy2 even if they didn't care about that school. Why? Because it appears that somebody is judging that person B is "better" than person A. For many this is one of the first times that third parties are casting judgements on their relative merits as students and as people, it appears.

Up to that point they are all peers. Some better at some things than others, some the reverse. But now distinctions are being made. It gets tense.

At least this is what it was like my senior year many years ago, at a private school. A recent alumna at my daughter's school described the scene there pretty much the same way when we were college hunting last year, and that caused me to remember it all. My daughter avoided it because she graduated early, but I'll bet later on this year her former classmates will experience some friction, or at least discomfort.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 03:02 pm: Edit

Moneydad, I was very taken aback by your comments. While you accuse me of not be honorable in not announcing that my family are wealthy donors to schools and other things, it would be considered bragging by most. I could never be having this conversation with people I knew. My intent was to just be one of the crowd all of my life. I did not choose this family, and there are wonderful things being part of it and there are also negatives.

Those of you who mentioned others also having advantages point out something I havn't mentioned. There are also bitter comments being made about some minority students getting places unfairly.

By Monydad (Monydad) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 03:19 pm: Edit

I guess you'll just have to deal with it, as will they.

In my opinion your colleagues at my daughter's school are better off. Their position has never been disguised, and it's now sort of a minor running joke with the kids, far in the background and just presumed by all.

It's just my opinion I could be wrong.

Or right.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 03:20 pm: Edit


There are two different issues.
The GC was indiscreet, though she had the best interests of other students in mind. It's hard for a GC to balance the interests of individual students. It is important for students to have realistic appraisals of their chances, especially in small schools from which it is likely a limited number of applicants will be admitted to the same college. This includes knowing what hooks other students might have. Some may be obvious and thus need not even be mentioned: being a URM, a top musician or artist, a recruited or recruitable athlete. Some are not obvious: being a legacy is one such characteristic. It's too bad, though, that the GC revealed things about you that you would have preferred to keep private (I did not realize that it was not a well-known information). But I still think your friends, and especially their parents, are wrong to hold your legacy status against you.

The second issue is what you ought to do. You have stellar grades; your chances of being admitted RD anywhere you choose, including the two Ivies, are very high. Give yourself the time to explore other colleges besides the two where you are a legacy and choose the one you are confident will suit YOU best. I am confident you will be admitted to many terrific places.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 03:41 pm: Edit

Thank you Marite. Another irony is that I am being recruited as an athlete. Maybe she could have just mentioned that?

Moneydad, yes, I will live for the rest of my life as a member of my family. I do, however, think it's OK to play down the wealth aspect of it for public consumption. Am a jumping to a unfair conclusion in thinking you are comfortable talking about wealth among your friends based on your handle here? I'm just not.

By Patient (Patient) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 03:57 pm: Edit

Annieivy, well why didn't you SAY you were a recruited athlete? (just ribbing you, really)

You've basically got it all, as far as I can see: terrific numbers, athletic ability beyond the norm, and a family history at the school (and presumably, a development candidate at that). Not only that, but I personally (and I know this is just my opinion and not shared by many) love your humble and quiet approach to your family roots.

I wish you the best and let us know where you end up applying, and your reasons!

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 04:06 pm: Edit

I agree with Patient.
Best of luck!

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 04:14 pm: Edit

I agree with Patient, too!

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 04:33 pm: Edit

Thank you everyone. I am back on track. In the next couple of months I'll visit Princeton, Williams, Amherst, Dartmouth and Colby. I know I have good city choices but I've never lived in a rural environment and I may want to. Any other suggestions appreciated.

By Elizabeth22 (Elizabeth22) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 04:55 pm: Edit

If you're looking at Colby, why not try Bowdoin?

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 04:59 pm: Edit


What are your academic interests? What kind of sports do you like?

Williams, Dartmouth, Amherst and Colby are somewhat isolated. Colby perhaps more than most because the town--such as it is--ix a distance from the campus. Williams is more sports-oriented than Amherst and somewhat less diverse in terms of socio-economic and ethnic make-up of the student population. It also has a first-rate art history department and a very strong math department. Amherst is part of the five-college consortium which gives you access to a very wide range of courses and activities.
Among the Ivies, Princeton is supposed to provide the best undergraduate experience. Not everyone likes the eating clubs and the Street scene, but others embrace them. Dartmouth has a great campus (though Williams's setting in the Berkshires is unbeatable). It has tried hard to live down its reputation as a frat- dominated college.
Try to read the campus newspapers online. They'll give you a sense of what students think are the most pressing issue facing them.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:28 pm: Edit

Annie...this is VERY "out of the box" but have you considered Davidson in North Carolina? We visited it this summer and felt it had all to offer that Williams and Amherst had, but in a much warmer climate. The school has fabulous facilities and programs. We (and DD) were very impressed with what they have to offer their 1600 students. I believe it is one of the smallest (if not THE smallest) Division I school for athletics.

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:28 pm: Edit

wow...51 responses because the poster has a name..


By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:39 pm: Edit

I've spent much of my life in LA so I really want 4 seasons. My family now mostly lives in SF and I even like the milder climate there. I'm torn about what I'll major in. I've always been very math/science and may choose engineering though I don't want a technical school. I would balance that with language, art history and literature classes. My recruitable sport is volleyball and I am also a soccer player. I will play one sport in college, but do not want it to be a focus and I don't want a coach counting on that I will play 4 years. People tell me it can dominate your college experience and I will only continue to play if I can achieve balance. I also want to be free to do study abroad programs to the max. I want to continue my community service work by extending a food collection program I started in LA to wherever I go. This is the one thing that draws me to urban areas. I sing and would love a school with good opportunities to continue. Thanks for the suggestions.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:47 pm: Edit

Oh yes, near by skiing would be a dream come true.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:48 pm: Edit

I think you are being cynical. I think the poster got so many responses because the situation is an unusual one here and the poster seemed unusually thoughtful and modest despite having some very unusual advantages.

By Achat (Achat) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 05:51 pm: Edit

Consider Middlebury for nearby skiing. Beautiful campus as well.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:04 pm: Edit

Thanks Northstarmom, but reactions like that one are exactly why I was taught to not talk about my background. It's kind of telling that even on a message board, where people do not know you, such responses are inevitable. People laugh at the idea that there are serious disadvantages to being of privelege, but perhaps one needs to live it to really understand.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:10 pm: Edit

Actually, I see you at Williams, though Middlebury is beautiful, too. Check out the Williams website. I believe one of the music profs got an award last year; the art history department is second to none, and the math/sciences offerings are terrific.

By Patient (Patient) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:16 pm: Edit

Annie...I second the idea of Davidson. There are four seasons there, including a bit of snow in the winter, but it doesn't meet your near-skiing criterion. Also, the South is a different place and you need to visit and experience it to see if it is for you.

Also, if you haven't skiied in the East, and your experience is Tahoe and the Rockies, be aware that the cold and the conditions make it a different experience. Major ice on the slopes, wind chill, etc. Some people love it but I found it too cold for my fair-weather tastes.

But, since you are looking at real seasons, the Eastern schools, considering your academic and athletic interests and so forth, and specifically the schools you are considering, sound like some of the best matches for you. It does seem that Harvard should be in the mix, though? Your visits will really help you narrow your choices, I think.

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:18 pm: Edit

Sorry if I seem cynical...

But, the opening question..
"There is tension between me and some of my classmates because I am a legacy at 2 ivy league schools that many are applying to. How did your kids deal with this problem? "

This seems quite ridiculous to me. If you ar a single legacy and two ivies, NO big deal.. Why is this such a huge problem to require 50 responses? Is it THAT unusual to be an legacy? Doesn't seem like it to me! Then, at some later time, some info about the development issue...but, the question is about how other kids handle it..

Maybe I'm more thick skinnend than most...but I'm tired of a lot of the tip-toe tactics on here...

Get over it and apply..and if other kids have a problem...OH WELL!

Ok, so 50 people have the same ideas about such issues...

My response...figure out where you WANT to go..apply...and tell those who have a problem because of your legacy status to take a leap...

I just don't see the severity of this issue...

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:21 pm: Edit

"Thanks Northstarmom, but reactions like that one are exactly why I was taught to not talk about my background"

What you should have been taught is not to REACT to reactions to your background....

It doesn't matter what we think...it matters how YOU react to what WE perceive...

That's what I teach...

Learn to control what can be controlled and forget the rest.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:24 pm: Edit

I think that either you have an extremely thick skin or you lack a lot of empathy.

I think that most people would feel hurt if their friends were making the kind of mean comments to them that the original poster indicates is happening.

Adding to the OP's stress is the fact that friends are typically the center of adolescents' world.

Your kid is black. Is he getting comments from other kids who are enviously telling him that for racial reasons he has an unfair advantage at schools that they are applying to?

I have seen URM kids posting on college boards with hurt feelings because of "friends" making statements like that.

Senior year of high school is stressful enough without having to deal with mean spirited comments from so-called friends. Particularly for the tender hearted (which probably is most people), this can make things very tough.

By Patient (Patient) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:34 pm: Edit

Also, I think some of us are just enjoying the dialogue with her and are interested in her thoughts about school selection. Note that the latter part of the thread has been about specific schools and not the legacy situation.

What can I say--I am in the middle of 10 loads of laundry and the family is out doing stuff!

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:38 pm: Edit

"Your kid is black. Is he getting comments from other kids who are enviously telling him that for racial reasons he has an unfair advantage at schools that they are applying to? "

I hardly think that being of a certain race and being labeled as such is the same as being financially privileged. And, yes, my son and many of his freinds have commented on being told that they are only in the running for certain shcools because they are black. My son knows it isn't true and those who make such comments are just ignorant. But, I don't consider that to be an relevant argument in this arena Northstar. And, since this board could benefit from a little levity, I offer the variable opinion. The poster is free to ignore and go with the norm..

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:42 pm: Edit

>>I hardly think that being of a certain race and being labeled as such is the same as being financially privileged.>>

To be suspected of having an unfair advantage over other students because of one's race or because of one's legacy status is equally hurtful. If your son can shrug off such unfair and ignorant comments, all the power to him. But not everyone can, or even should.

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:53 pm: Edit

"Momsdream, is your son's GF someone who could have a good shot without benefit of legacy status? I have a 1580 SATI and an unweighted 4.0, these are the schools I would have applied to regardless. This is why I'm so astonished at prevailing attitudes."

I don't really know what her scores are. My son doesn't mention it and I don't ask. She's applying to top schools, and attended the Wharton open house today (along with us). I assume she's on par with my son...he isn't at the top (over 1500)...but just below and has stellar ECs...she has stellar ECs, as well! They both attend top tier private schools.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:53 pm: Edit

I had read this board for months and was well aware that there might be little sympathy for the wealthy and privileged. I also knew there were many smart parents who dispensed good advice, so I decided to take a chance. The chance was a good one as I received great advice. However, momsdream has a point. I need to toughen up and not cave to irrational critism. I've worked hard and deserve to apply where I want.

But I very much disagree with momsdream that my situation is different from that of her son. I did not choose a wealthy family any more than he chose a black one. People are also being ignorant in my case. One can make a case that legacy admissions are unfair. One can make a similar case that the URMs at my high school, many as privileged as I am and who have benefited from high clibre educations, are no more deserving of the break than I am. The world is not always fair momsdream, but you seem be choosing the version of "fairness", and definition of ignorance, that works for you.

I can assure you based on reading these topics, that if you son posts asking how to respond to critism of his URM advantage, he will get as many, if not more, answers than I did.

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:58 pm: Edit

"To be suspected of having an unfair advantage over other students because of one's race or because of one's legacy status is equally hurtful"

Well, perhaps there will be a new URM status for unusually wealthy folks..

All I am saying is, the poster should get used it it...that's life...

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 06:59 pm: Edit

I know I'm on touchy ground here, but momsdream, I have to ask. Is the URM advantage meant for an ivy league legacy who has gone to a top private school? I've always assumed it was meant to level the playing for those who have not had the benefit of access to the best.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 07:02 pm: Edit

While there is some merit in getting used to it, do you counsel your son to just get used to the way ignorant people will treat him because he's black?

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 07:07 pm: Edit


You're missing the point..

It IS unfair. But, that's not going to determine your future...I hope.

I am only addressing the ways in which you react to the comments/criticism...

It stinks that people are reacting to you this way...but that's their problem, not yours...

This is just the beginning of the judgement calls...

By Momsdream (Momsdream) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 07:26 pm: Edit

"do you counsel your son to just get used to the way ignorant people will treat him because he's black? "

Annie, I've never had to really counsel my son on this issue because it's never been a problem. Typically, my son will come home and tell me about the comments, almost laughing too hard to get the words out. But, I don't assume he's usual in his response to it all...

Annie, the purpose of the URM status has been debated time and time again on this baord, and others...and I don't think the quality of the HS should be an issue. So, though I understand where you are trying to go, it isn't relevant.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:09 pm: Edit


One of my S's chum is a URM. He is also a double legacy at two Ivies. He is also incredibly smart. We all know that wherever he goes, it will be on his own merit. His sis, by the way, went to one of the two Ivies at which she is a legacy; she was one of the few NMS finalists at our public school. Although Momsdream put it a bit harshly, the overall message is worth heeding: Ignore the hurtful and unfair comments. Be confident in your own worth.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:16 pm: Edit


I'm glad that your son is able to laugh off stupid comments. I knew a young African-American man. One day, toward the end of his last semester at Harvard, he was sitting on the steps of a dorm with a couple of other AA friends when the police questioned their right to be there. He was so shattered that it ruined what should have been the happiest time. Some of his friends later said that he had never encountered racism and he had not developed the thick skin necessary to laugh off this kind of experience. That it came at the end of what had been a very happy four years was all the more a shock. I could have wished that no thick skin had been necessary.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 08:50 pm: Edit

I am sure you are not a whiny person. but, this whole issue strikes me as being in that vein.

You are clearly as qualified as the next person- the legacy issue notwithstanding- to apply to whatever college you wish and to stand as good a chance as anyone of getting in. No one doubts that, and I am sure you don't doubt it either. Surely you are not looking to strangers for affirmation of this?

What sets you apart is several things.
First, you go to a school where EVERYONE, whether they are Ivy legacies or not is accustomed to being SPECIAL in some second-hand way (parents are famous, etc)..Therefore, they are all under the misimpression that this "specialness" will be a life long door opener. They are cranky because, in this case, your specialness is more relevant than their specialness (probably). People who have this attribute likely are accustomed to wanting and getting the information they need to maintain their specialness...

Second, you have a truly unique legacy status, apparently. As noted above, there are legacies and there are legacies. Presumably, yours is of the variety that really counts.

I am of the opinion, unlike some others above, that IF ASKED, a good GC should inform parents of kids who do not have your advantages that their child's chances of admissions are impacted by the fact that you(unnamed, but defined) are also applying. Many schools encourage limited applications from students so that the applications that are sent "really count". Shouldn't another student at your school know that since there is a student applying with particular advantages, their own chances are diminished?

If you do NOT want to take advantage of your legacy status, apply to other schools. This is your perogative. Then you are on a level playing field with others- if this is your priority. If, as you say, the legacy schools are your first choices- then go ahead and apply and enjoy your legacy status.

Don't expect, however, that others should have to be disadvantaged two fold...by not being aware of your advantage!!

By Aim78 (Aim78) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 09:24 pm: Edit

Why? Why? Do they think they're being noble or something by not applying to their legacy? For Christ's sake, if you have an opportunity, TAKE IT.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 09:59 pm: Edit

Annie-- I think you sound like a great kid. I'm sorry to see you taken to task for not advertising your family's connections. I suspect those saying that would be equally annoyed at your advantages no matter how you handled it. Also, I disagree that you got so many responses because of your "name." I've noticed that nothing gets people going on this board more than money, and it doesn't matter who starts the discussion. I don't feel you sound whiny at all. I do think that all your life people will make assumptions about your success. There will be people who say, "Well, of course. With HER family!" So, you'll have to learn to ignore that, starting now. I'm with those counseling that you apply wherever you want, do what's right for you. Besides, I have a hard time believing that these Ivies have such hard and fast rules about the number of students they accept from each school. If they take a "super-legacy," can't they go ahead and take an extra admit, if they like that person too?

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 10:06 pm: Edit

>>I want to continue my community service work by extending a food collection program I started in LA to wherever I go. This is the one thing that draws me to urban areas. I sing and would love a school with good opportunities to continue.>>

I don't know which Ivies you are considering, but Harvard would fit the bill very nicely.

By Monydad (Monydad) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit

I agree with Robyrm.

If you don't want your peers to be upset by your legacy status and the advantage it gives you over them, I have a solution: don't take the special treatment. Don't tell colleges you're a legacy. Don't let your parents tell them. Don't tell colleges what your parents do, precisely. You don't have to accept the special treatment, that's a choice you are making.

Same with minority status. If you don't want your peers to be upset, don't take the treatment. Don't check the "minority" box on the application. Don't say anything that identifies you as a minority. I actually know someone who did this because he didn't believe in special treatment.

If on the other hand you're taking the special treatment don't be surprised if your peers are upset about it. Most people would take any edge they can get, so I'm not blaming you for that, but the inevitable reaction of your peers is a direct consequence that goes with the territory.

From a while ago: I hope your relations with your high school peers are a lot closer than the bond we on CC share. Anyway the fellow in my daughter's class managed to have the word about his legacy status get out, and I don't think he had to advertise the fact. I'm sure it came up in the normal course of things, and he just didn't deliberately hide it. Anyway the details of your family's balance sheet are not material to your peers, and are none of their business I agree, but the fact that you will be taking one of your school's slots at a college or two they might want to go to is their business so that's very different in my opinion.

On another matter that's come up, I actually know two wealthy executives at a large firm who applied for a minority scholarship for their child, because one of them was from (a wealthy family in)latin america. They were turned down for the scholarship, even though technically their child should have qualified. The mom was livid.

By Momrath (Momrath) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:43 pm: Edit

OK, I've read all 80 posts and I'm thoroughly confused. Annieivy is interested in attending one of her parents' alma maters, she has the right stuff to get accepted, she wants to get accepted, and she's wondering if she should apply?? Huh? Why ever not?

Because her classmates who presumably will be denied beacuse she has taken their rightful places will say she was accepted only because of her legacy status? This is pure speculation and makes no sense to me.

Annie, apply! Fuggetabout the comments of your so-called friends. Everyone who is accepted at any college takes the place of someone who is rejected. If they are schools that you are sincerely considering and if you are not just collecting trophy acceptances (I see no indication that you are) then go for what you want and stop agonizing over your classmates' whiny complaints.

And . . . my standard plug :>). . . seriously consider Williams.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit

Moneydad, I might agree with you if I were in the middle of the pack and no one should expect me to take one of the spots. In this case I'm number one in the class thus far, have the school's highest SATs, I'm an athlete and I have strong ECs. It should not shock anyone that I am a strong contender for an ivy spot. I had a talk with my Dad tonight about "special treatment." We talked a lot about the pros and cons in growing up in a family like ours. He had an interesting point. With all the groups that get advantages-URMs, athletes, the poor, first generation, staff children and so on, I'm just yet another. He told me to be proud of what my family has chosen to give to these schools and pointed out that the first considerable gift was made when my Grandparents were not all that wealthy. They have had a long standing committment that my parents joined with. They have passed their values on to me and my siblings. There is something to continued history.

Marite, Harvard is up there. H and Y are the schools where I am an infamous legacy.

Enjoyingthis, seems like it's hard to win either way!

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:55 pm: Edit


You cannot go wrong with either H or Y given your academic and extra-curricular interests. For a profile of a legacy who is also an athlete at H, google Sara Sedgwick. She did not have the stellar qualifications you bring, but she has done well academically apparently, and has been a great asset for her team.

By Achat (Achat) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 12:04 am: Edit

Do staff children really have an advantage other than just tuition waiver?

By Patient (Patient) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 12:09 am: Edit

Achat--do you mean in terms of a certain tendency toward preferential admissions? If so, the answer is yes, definitely, at the only school I know well enough to discuss which is Stanford. I know this from listening to a talk by the dean of admissions and also anecdotally from watching the admissions results from our local school.

By Achat (Achat) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 12:11 am: Edit

Thanks, Patient. I need to research this on my own a bit as to whether this applies to other schools too.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 02:27 am: Edit

For a student in this situation to simply post a message here reporting tension between her and her schoolmates is hardly whining. She could be in a very unique and oppressive social environment and I am guessing from her posts that she is not going around school complaining about her lot in life. She is showing some good insight and responding well to both her schoolmates and the comments on this thread.

The players in this story that need their attitude adjusted are the poster's peers. They may be venting about legacy, but much of it may just be garden-variety envy. And I suspect many of them are disadvantaged Stanford or Dartmouth legacies with multi-million-dollar trustfunds and new BMWs. They are in the same environment, but they should follow Annie's example. . .deal with their issues thoughtfully and outside of school, and leave her alone.

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 02:28 am: Edit

Annie, on it's hard to win either way. Exactly, if by winning you mean trying to keep everybody else happy. So you might as well do what's right for you and at least YOU'LL come out a winner.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Sunday, September 19, 2004 - 04:14 am: Edit

I agree, Annieivy should apply where she wants to apply- exactly where she wants to apply- and she should not have to be concerned with what others think-- her record speaks for itself.

But, from the other side of the coin I think it is unrealistic for her to think that her legacy status might not be of interest to others- whether or not it is a factor that impacts the admissions decisions made about her. The GC at her school (especially at a school with lots of "special" people I would guess) needs to ensure that each student makes the most of their application process. For some students, this might include counseling them from applying to a given school because they have classmates who are much more likely to be accepted than they. This would need to be done in a manner which does not breach confidentiality, but is respectful of all the students involved.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit

Annie, apply to the school where your name is not plastered all over the buildings and have a wonderful life.
My thinking is this, if you are upset about this now, and I think you have good reason to be, imagine what it will be like when word gets out and you are living in a dorm with your name on it. I wouldn't worry too much about giving up your extreme legacy status by applying to the other school - they will know who you are, and will hope to tap into those funds as well.

I know you may think my attitude is extremely cynical, but you should apply where YOU want to go, first and foremost, because the fact is you have tremendous advantages over the majority of applicants at any Ivy, and that won't change one hair no matter what you do - so do what is best for you, you've worked for it.

Finally, the environment you are in is way far off the norm - you come across as a person who may be very happy to meet people from other environments, who will grow and learn from others - another reason to get away from privilege into a larger world as soon as your can. I think the actions of your peers are about what I'd expect from "spoiled rich kids", I think their parents are being stupid. The actions of the GC and what to do about that is a little more problematic - I don't think most of us can appreciate the kind of atmosphere s/he works in, with the mandate to do the best she can for all the seniors. I would think the best thing for her to do would be come up with some sort of generic speech given every year - "typically X number of students are admitted to Yale each year, but we from time to time have developmental legacies or URMs whose odds of admission at a particular school are much higher usual". Then if she needs to counsel particular students privately, it could be directed toward what their chances realistically are, not that "you should apply to Harvard because the school's Yale slot is sewn up by a legacy". Still my child goes to a small private school (though nothing like what Annie attends) and I know that there just is no real anonymity, doesn't work that way.

Be strong in knowing, Annie, that you are head and shoulders above your classmates (and particularly their parents) in grace, humility and character, and that applying to the school of YOUR choice, whether that's the legacy school or not, doesn't in any way cheapen your achievements or yourself - go for it.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 10:43 am: Edit

The current situation at your school is caused by tension over the admission process. People who've been good friends begin to act irrationally. Tempers flare, friendships fray. Some people act more ethically than others (remember Blair Hornstine, or the young woman who graduated early, went off to college, but sued her high school for the right to be val?)

Things, however, will be totally different in college. Both Ivies are full of legacy kids.
I remember vaguely a story about one of former governor William Weld's kids who attended Harvard. He was asked how it felt to have his name plastered on several buildings and he shrugged it off. He was an absolutely stellar student--as are you. They are plenty of other students in the same situation. I don't think anybody treats them any differently from other students, whether it's faculty or fellow students. I would not worry about it. Choose your college on the basis of the one that best fit your needs.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 11:12 am: Edit

Annie, I didn't read all the posts above, so I may be repeating another's advice.

If I were you, I'd go ahead and apply if I wanted to attend one of these schools.

If you are concerned about using your legacy status, is not mentioning it on your app an option?

Whatever you decide to do, be grateful you'll be out of this atmosphere in a year.

By Originaloog (Originaloog) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 11:29 am: Edit

Why did it(legacy status) ever become such common knowledge? None of my son's friends knew where my wife and I went to college.

It seems to me that many students, families and communities are obsessed with the college decisions they or their children are facing. I truth, it isn't as critial as they make it out to be.

By Outwest5 (Outwest5) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 12:03 pm: Edit

As I see it, the sad part about being born into a priviledged family is that you can get through life on your name. This can produce people who do not have a good sense of self. Some of these people do not accomplish anything worthy of note on their own.

That said, it does seem like your parents have given you an awareness of your priviledge. The fact that you are reaching out into your community shows that awareness of the world as a whole. I do want to commend your family for seeming to give you an understanding that money and priviledge can invoke change and money can be power. If you can use your advantages in a positive way in this world you will have such a fuller, more meaningful life.

My opinion? Who gives a hoot what the people around you are saying. Apply where you want to apply and understand that when you are in a world of many powerful people everyone thinks they should be top banana. If you follow your heart and are a 'real' individual things will work out well for you. You might want to consider applying to a couple very good colleges where your name is not on anything. Wouldn't it be nice to be totally anonymous and have to stand on your own two feet, to have to prove yourself with your efforts alone? I think that could be a valuable and self esteem building pursuit.

And remember, the world of power and money is a very small world. The competition in such a world can be disgusting and immoral. Try to see your private high school world for what it really is, a shallow look at all life has to offer.

Hold your head up because you will need to be tough against the jealous, hurtful things your world can invoke. If you do choose to go Ivy, especially at a school which has a building with your name on it, you may be illiciting four more years of continually proving yourself. Are you sure you want to do that? If you think you can handle it then, of course, go for it.

For some reason I get the feeling your family has done a very good job of raising you and that you deserve to be at any school you want to, all on your own merits.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 12:27 pm: Edit

The more I think about this, I am a little concerned that Annie seems to consider herself a victim in all of this. Annie, I'm assuming you would not prefer to NOT have the legacy advantage, right? Or not have had the other opportunities your family's wealth and connections have given you?

"URMs, athletes, the poor, first generation, staff children and so on, I'm just yet another..."

While you and your parents seem to be analogizing this to other preferences, I don't think that's quite accurate in most cases. Athletes earn their preference through some ability they have and have worked hard on (regardless of one's views on college athletics). Poor and first gen college kids have not had the same advantages as middle and upper class kids whose parents went to college (and certainly not the same as you have had). Staff children? that's an employee benefit, and I'm not sure they really get that much preference unless you're a prof the school really wants to keep (they may get tuition breaks, but I've never heard that a department secretary's kid gets an admissions preference). Perhaps you could analogize to URMs who are from wealthy families, but that's about it, and my sense from the last couple of years applicants I've seen is that the URM preference is limited at the very top schools for those from wealthier backgrounds.

I'm a little troubled by this "it's so hard to be rich and well-connected" attitude that I'm beginning to see coming through here. If it's such a big deal, don't apply to the school where you are a legacy or don't indicate your parents, etc went there (you say your name is common enough so the school won't otherwise know). I agree it is unfortunate there is tension at your HS because of this, but other than that, I'm not sure I see your problem here.

By Outwest5 (Outwest5) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 12:55 pm: Edit

I do think Rhonda made some good points. I also am a little bothered that you or your parents would want to go to the trustees of your school about the issue. That is power showing it's head, big time, or it could have just been a parents desire to protect their child. No one can tell from this forum the motivation of that. The best way to diffuse the tensions is to ignore it or say,"What would you do? I am sure you would do the same thing I am, right?" At an elite private school the students and parents have pretty much always gotten what they wanted. College is the first time many of these people will be competing against the country at large. It can be a bit stressful and scary for them to realize that sometimes life can actually be fair. A legacy is not a guarantee of admission. I know numerous students who were not admitted to their legacy schools. Granted, if your name is on a building that certainly helps, but why would you want to go to those schools anyway?

There are THOUSANDS of colleges in this country. Make sure to apply to a broad cross section of schools because you do not know how you'll feel come April. Many students completely change their minds about where they want to go between now and then.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 01:08 pm: Edit

"My college counselor was kind enough to share with everyone that I am what she called an "extreme Legacy", i.e. my Grandparents were major benefactors and our name is attached to several things at one school."

Just an observation - I'll beat your GC will do her best by you, because she'll look like a right fool if you don't get in. Best of luck to you. I think that you've got the great priviledge/great responsibility connection internalized. Apply to a safety anyway. Then go forth and do great things.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 01:11 pm: Edit

>>I am at the top of my class and I do have the school's highest SATs. Deep down I know I shouldn't feel bad. >>

Keep that in mind. That goes for everyone.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 04:16 pm: Edit

They have always gotten what they wanted? Life can actually be fair? It is very sad to me that the person who posted these sentiments shares their thoughts with many. Really, having wealth and going to private school does not mean you have always gotten everything you wanted. What an absurd thought! Certainly you are getting the privilege of a better than average education, but their exists no fairy at these schools to grant ones every wish.

As for that life can actually be fair, I'm stumped. I don't begin to know how to address this. I am stupified that these words came out. Have all people that have money had unfair advantages? Do all of life's woes avoid them? Is there a lower cancer rate among the wealthy?

I have asked my mother not to go the the trustees because I want to handle this myself. I think views might be different if the parents of a URM wanted to complain about the counselor telling people their child would unfairly take a place at Harvard this year.

It's a hard lesson to accept. But I must. There are those who automatically dislike the wealthy and are sure they had everything handed to them. Maybe I should start a project to send wealthy children to spend time in the homes of the non wealthy, sort of like Fresh Air kids, to promote acceptance and show communities we bleed, too.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 04:29 pm: Edit

Annie -- I don't think anyone is saying that b/c you are rich, you have no problems. And of course rich people get cancer (although the rate may well be lower for all I know) -- but they can at least afford health care if they do.

My point was really that you seem to be blowing this up into a big problem when I don't see it as one. I understand it bothers you that people seem to resent your super-legacy, but that to me doesn't qualify as a big problem. It was unfortunate the GC told everyone this, but perhaps she thought everyone knew at such a small school. Who knows.

I think what you're not getting here is how your perceived problem would sound to someone from a low- or middle-income family who is also a good student and has worked hard, and hopes to get into a top school. And I'm speaking as someone from a family wealthy enough to have paid full tuition for three kids to attend top private universities and top professional schools, so I'm not speaking from resentment here.

If you are REALLY troubled by using a legacy advantage, then why just not use it? If you do decide to use it, I don't think there is any reason to feel bad about it. It's a decision you need to make and live with.

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 05:05 pm: Edit

I will be using my legacy advantage, proudly. My Grandfather sat me down for a long talk yesterday. He shared what 3 generations of my family before me have contributed to his school. In addition to giving money, he was a trustee, has served on countless committees, has been instrumental in recruiting professors the college wanted and much more. My dad has also contributed at an above and beyond the call of duty level. Is it wrong for this school to accept their quilified offspring who will continue the family's tradition of making the school a priority? Interestingly, my Grandfather does not think they should accept my cousin, who he dearly loves, but whose chief EC has been drug rehab.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 05:24 pm: Edit

"Interestingly, my Grandfather does not think they should accept my cousin, who he dearly loves, but whose chief EC has been drug rehab."

Yes, this is the point, isn't it. You are qualified. Not everyone is - that's why people get crabby. And that's the great thing about this board. We get to meet legacies, and URM's, and athletes - as people, not just as evil statistics keeping one's self or offspring out of an institution.

Actually, my son may be attending school on a tuition waiver from his father's employment - the university is not as highly ranked as your prospect, but still very good. The reaction we usually get is envy - followed by shock because he may decide, if accepted, to go elsewhere. Oh, well. Best wishes to your grandfather, and to your cousin to get his life together.

By Marite (Marite) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 05:33 pm: Edit


You and everyone else need to distinguish between yourself and your family. You have every right to be proud that your grandfather and dad attended the college and have contributed so much to it and to the students who have attended.
But you also want people to accept YOU for who you are. You have the record, SATs, and athletic abilities. If someone makes snide remarks about your legacy status, you can always tell them you are an athletic recruit, LOL.
Remember, too, that this unfortunate tension is a temporary phenomenon. And indeed, there are many kids on these boards who come from far less privileged backgrounds than you. They, too, have made it on their own steam, and we try to give them advice. Check back for posts by Evil Robot who had to give up his dream of attending Yale because of financial considerations, or Candi who currently has trouble getting Yale UHS to accept Medicaid. That is definitely not going to be one of your problems.
So lighten up, ignore the snide remarks, and focus on thinking which college fits you best.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 05:58 pm: Edit

I don't know where you are a legacy, but at the Ivy that I attended, the average SAT score for legacies is within about 3 points of the average SAT score of nonlegacies.

Probably in the old days, before the late 1960s, there were legacies who got in who had nothing going for them but legacies. However, I never met a legacy from my college who is my age or younger who wasn't very strong. In fact, the three legacies who I knew from my college class stood out in the class for being exceptionally bright and talented.

I think, too, that at least at my alma mater, many alumn act like your grandfather. If a relative isn't qualified for admission, they discourage the relative from applying.

When my older S was in h.s., I caught a rumor that he was bragging that he didn't need to study because I could get him into my alma mater. I disabused him of that fantasy rather quickly. Since he was slacking -- big time -- I also made it clear to him that I would feel embarassed if an obvious slacker kid of mine applied to my alma mater. That's because I wouldn't want my alma mater to think that I was crazy enough to assume that legacy could trump slacker grades.

FYI: If my kid had had high grades equivalent to his intelligence, I wouldn't have felt embarrassed if he had applied and hadn't gotten accepted. I know that there are lots of stellar students, including legacies, who apply and there's not room for all.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 20, 2004 - 06:08 pm: Edit

I do not agree with the general use of legacy preferences, esp to the extent they are used at some schools. I also take issue with the idea that all legacies are more qualified than the non-legacies who don't get in, but I don't think that is an issue with the OP.

That being said, I think it is perfectly reasonable to accept the fact that the colleges, for whatever reason, place value on legacy status (we may not all agree that there is any value, but it's not our decision what factors the college places importance on), and to rely on it. And if it really bothers you to do so, don't rely on it. But make your OWN decision.

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