The acceptance rate for legacy students is significantly lower at Georgetown University compared to peer universities, though legacy students still gain a 10 percentage-point boost in the admissions proceedings taking place in White-Gravenor Hall this fall.
According to Charles Deacon, dean of undergraduate admissions, the acceptance rate of legacy students, defined as students whose sibling or parent attended the university, is around 30 percent. The overall acceptance rate to Georgetown for the 2009-2010 school year was around 20 percent. The disparity is much higher at peer universities, however.
At the University of Pennsylvania, 28 percent of legacies are admitted, double the overall acceptance rate of 14 percent, according to The Daily Pennsylvanian. Princeton University admitted 42 percent of legacy students for the Class of 2013, as opposed to 9 percent of non-legacy students, according to The Daily Princetonian.
“[The difference between acceptance rates] is largely because [legacy students] are very strong candidates,” Deacon said. In addition, Deacon pointed to the fact that the children of Georgetown alumni often display the same abilities that led to their parents’ acceptance.
Despite this advantage, many legacy students feel that the status does not harm them once they arrive at Georgetown.
“Undergrads tend not to know who is a legacy,” said Kelly Butler (COL ’14), whose parents and relatives attended Georgetown.
The current freshman class consists of about 9 percent legacy students.
Still, both the university and legacy students insist that a legacy student does not get an easy ride to the university.
“As long as [legacy status is] considered part of a big package, then I think that is legitimate, as long as the student is academically qualified,” Butler said.
Additionally, according to students, admitting legacy students is important to the university.
“I think that it’s important to have legacies on campus to keep a sense of community,” said Amy Esposito (COL ’14), a legacy student. “But I do not believe they should be given any special treatment by the admissions office,” she said.
According to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, there are no specific strategies to recruit legacy students.
“The primary thing is the position of the applicant [in the applicant pool],” Deacon said.
At Georgetown, legacy students are simply another group on a very diverse campus.
“There is a certain bonding that takes place with Georgetown, and by accepting legacy students, we’re forming a student population that’s going to be a very loyal part of the community,” Deacon said.