New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

NYU to remove legacy status question from Common App

The university will change its Common Application and publicly available data to reflect that it does not consider alumni relations in admissions.
Justin Park
The NYU Bonomi Family Admissions Center. (Justin Park for WSN)

NYU will no longer ask applicants whether they are children of alumni on the Common Application, a move to help clarify that it does not consider legacy status in the applications process.

The university will also stop marking alumni relations as “Considered” in admissions on its Common Data Set — an annual report of university statistics that includes applicant demographics — and will change the category to “Not Considered.” NYU spokesperson Joseph Tirella said that the CDS was marked this way because of the question regarding alumni ties being included in the Common App, and not because the university uses the information in admissions decisions.

Tirella also said that only 1.5% of the admitted class in the fall 2021 admissions cycle were legacy applicants, while 22% of the class were first generation applicants.

“We appreciate that it has caused confusion, especially now, when the issue of legacy admissions is being scrutinized,” Tirella wrote in a statement to WSN. “And, to repeat: NYU does not admit students on the basis of legacy; being the child of an alum is not a factor in our admissions decision-making; we don’t pay heed to legacy status in shaping a class; and NYU doesn’t have legacy ‘tips.’”

The “considered” designation on the CDS was also used to show that the university provided data on legacy information to interested offices on campus, according to a statement from associate vice president for undergraduate admissions Jonathan Williams.

Text reads: "C 7 Relative importance of each of the following academic and nonacademic factors in your first-time, first-year, degree-seeking general (not including programs with specific criteria) admissions decisions." Under the text is a five-column chart. The first column is full of factors, listed below. The remaining four columns are labelled "very important," "important," "considered," and "not considered." The rows are divided into a section titled "academic," under which are rows for: "rigor of secondary school record," "class rank," "academic G.P.A," "standardized test scores" (all of which ticked as "very important"), "application essay," "recommendation(s)" (both of which ticked as "important"); and a section titled "nonacademic," under which are rows for: "interview" (ticked "considered"), "extracurricular activities" (ticked "important"), "talent/ability" (ticked "very important"), "character/personal qualities" (ticked "important"), "first generation," "alumni/ae relation," "geographical residence" (all of which ticked as "considered"), "state residency," "religious affiliation/commitment" (both of which ticked as "not considered"), "racial/ethnic status," "volunteer work," "work experience," "level of applicant's interest" (all of which ticked as "considered."
NYU marked the “Alumni/ae relation” category as “Considered” on its 2022-23 Common Data Set. (Screenshot via NYU Common Data Set)

Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of affirmative action in college admissions in June, many universities across the country are re-evaluating their use of legacy admissions due to concerns of the practice favoring privileged applicants. More recently, the U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation into Harvard University’s legacy admissions practices, after complaints that the policy gives white applicants an overwhelming advantage in the admissions process. 

The New York City Council has also become involved in the issue, and called for the New York state legislature to pass a bill that would ban legacy admissions in New York state colleges in August.

Of all private universities, 42% consider an applicant’s legacy status in admissions, according to a 2018 Inside Higher Ed survey. A Harvard study also found that applicants with legacy status are also almost four times more likely to gain admission to a university, despite having the same test scores as the other applicants.

Contact Bruna Horvath at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Bruna Horvath
Bruna Horvath, News Editor
Bruna Horvath is a sophomore studying journalism and English at CAS. When she’s not a News Editor, she’s a "Gone Girl" enthusiast, a Goodreads lover, and a Barnes & Noble frequenter. You can usually find her ordering an iced mocha, telling people her name is “Bruna” not “Bruno,” or on Instagram @brunaahorvath.
Justin Park
Justin Park, Under the Arch Deputy Multimedia Editor
Justin Park is a first-year in Gallatin studying ‘Film and Feelings.' Born in Korea, Justin also lived in China for 10 years before moving to the United States in 2014, which caused him to sleep talk in mixed languages. Aside from being a journalist, Justin is also a filmmaker. Justin is a big fan of "La La Land," but his excessive obsession sadly caused people around him to hate the film.

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