I am writing to agree with my classmate John Dippel’s letter pointing out the advantages of so-called legacy admissions.
When I was at Princeton, I came across a bunch of students with a bullhorn demanding changes at Princeton including the elimination of legacy admissions. When the speaker finished, I grabbed the bullhorn and said:
“Every professor I have had grades on a curve. I don’t want to spend my years here competing with geniuses. I say bring on more legacy admissions!”
For different reasons, my support for legacy admissions have not changed. I have no dog in this fight because both of my wonderful sons are autistic. (When I saw the Princeton tuition this year, it was the first time I saw any benefit in my sons being autistic).
First, at my recent 55th reunion, I met many legacies of my classmates and it confirmed John’s statement about how truly qualified and wonderful they all were.
Second, legacy admissions are often twined with affirmative action for those who are and would be large donors to Princeton. Facially that seems unfair to those without the silver spoons in their mouths at birth. But it is precisely due to those generous donors that Princeton, Yale, and Harvard are among the colleges that no longer give out student loans. Every penny of the scholarship is free from the yoke of future crushing debt. The beneficiaries of that largess are precisely the less and underprivileged students that have so benefitted Princeton and made it the multicultural institution it is today.