News flash: Universities are more likely to admit students whose parents gave lots of money


Earlier, we saw that alumni give money to universities in order to increase the likelihood that the university will admit their children. Today, we learn that the tactic works. The children of big-donor alumni are more likely to be accepted. In fact, you don't even have to be the child of alumni. Just make sure you parents give lots of money.

Comments (7)
  1. Nathan_works says:

    What’s funny is the cognitive dissonance expressed by parents in the articles. There’s the ostrich head-in-the-sand response flatly denying the obvious quid pro quo, or the "f everyone else, so long as my kid gets ahead" response.. Wow. Just Wow.

  2. Ben Hutchings says:

    In other news, researchers discover that large political donors are more likely to benefit from later legislative or executive decisions than other people.

  3. Jim says:

    Or IC’s who suck up to their managers’ pet interests get better review feedback.  I’m just speculating.

  4. nobody important says:

    I didn’t see any evidence of this at Caltech.  The students all seemed legit.  Everyone I knew there was a first generation Caltech student.

    Signs of wealth were extremely rare.  No links to celebrity of the usual sort, though I am aware of a very few students over the years whose parents are famous mathematicians or scientists.  They seemed to have academic merit of their own.

    Of course, physics boot camp has little or no social prestige.  There might not be many wealthy people who dream of sending the kids there.  Little Chadwick and Tiffany probably aren’t red hot on the idea either.

    Quantum Hoops provides some clues about the situation.  The poor basketball coach has been trying for years to find a basketball player he can get past the admissions committee.  Any basketball player.  Maybe someday.

  5. Erzengel says:

    "I didn’t see any evidence of this at Caltech."

    My first thought on reading this is: In other words, "You’re wrong, Y can do X."

  6. anon says:

    I was a contract developer on the admissions project at as ivy league university.  In the admission database there’s a boolean called VIP, but no descriptor so they can "cover their ass" and not claim special treatment.

    In a nutshell I’d say the sort order for top candidates are: VIP, race (according to affirmative action requirements) and then grades.

    Nobody wants to admit to this stuff, but I’m guessing what toggles VIP is:

    1. parents donate lots of money
    2. related to a college employee

    3. sports scholarship

    I suspect most colleges work this way, but they will deny it to the bitter end.

  7. Cooney says:

    "f everyone else, so long as my kid gets ahead" response.

    This is the standard response for talking about your kids. As long as he’s not a complete screwup, you sort of expect that.

    In a nutshell I’d say the sort order for top candidates are: VIP, race (according to affirmative action requirements) and then grades.

    Now that’s irony – AA institutionalizes racism.

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