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Articles / Applying to College / Is There a Sibling Hook?

Oct. 14, 2009

Is There a Sibling Hook?

Does having a sibling who attends a college increase your chances of getting in? Do admissions officers go back and look at the sibling's application or look at his or her current GPA?

Having a sibling who attends your target college (or who is an alumnus) will usually work in your favor. Most college administrators feel that, by enrolling more than one member of the same family, it increases the odds that this family will feel connected to this college and thus donate more money ... and maybe cheer more loudly and enthusiastically at sporting events, too . ;)


However, at the most competitive colleges (e.g., the Ivies and their ilk) sibling status means next to nothing. There are simply too many siblings who are eager to enroll ... and too many non-siblings who are just as qualified (or more so). But, at the majority of other colleges, the sibling "hook" counts at least a little.

College officials do not typically comb through applications or transcripts to check out the matriculated sister or brother. They simply note the connection and may use it in the candidate's favor, if there are close calls to be made.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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