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Articles / Applying to College / Preferential Admissions for Staff Offspring?

July 6, 2007

Preferential Admissions for Staff Offspring?

Question: Does having a parent employed at a university (particularly an Ivy League university) increase your chances of being accepted? Does a specific level of employment at that university increase your chances more than a different level of employment?

Most institutions give some sort of preferential treatment to faculty and staff offspring. However, the applicants must meet the usual admission standards for that school in order to qualify. Only rarely will colleges dip below their typical "admit" level to accept an employee-connected candidate. Because admission standards at Ivy League schools are so high, and because these colleges are so popular among ALL high school students--including staff progeny--a staff connection at an Ivy can carry less clout than at other schools, but it's still worth something.


Colleges may not admit it, but the greatest preference usually goes to the children of campus VIPS (top administrators, key faculty members) and also to those who hail from blue-collar backgrounds (the offspring of custodial or kitchen workers, etc.) The kids of those in the middle may be caught in the middle. (So what else is new? :-))

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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