How much of a "hook" is legacy at a college?

david1238's picture
Rank: Senior Chimp | 29

This is not a troll post, so please bare with me. I'm currently a high schooler about to start my sophomore year at a super competitive high school. I had a really weak freshman year (3.92 GPA, no clubs/extracurriculars besides piano), but I'm planning to bounce back next year. I have multiple AP classes, editor role in the student newspaper, and a club officer/treasurer gig lined up. I've also started preparations for the SAT/ACT exam and found a college counselor to help guide me through the process.

One of the main things I'm concerned about is the lack of a hook. From the start, I've always been an "average" student, with no particular talent in sports, math, computer science, arts, etc. I come from a family of engineers and I'm expected to perform well in math, but I just got by with an A this year only due to hard work and excessive studying. I thought about developing a spike and realized that my skills lie in the liberal arts (literature, history, etc.), much to my dismay, but I actually see this as an oppurtunity. My current plan is to brand myself as a liberal arts student, which will definitely differentiate myself from the rest of my STEM-focused high school.

This brings me to my next point. I am fortunate to have a father who attended the Chicago Booth School (class of 96 or 97, can't remember clearly) and made some (meager) donations a couple of years ago. My father told me that this particular point would add some extra credit to my application, but not much. Multiple posts on College Confidential, however, suggest that having legacy is a super big deal. My question to all of you is, does having legacy at the graduate school hold any weight for the undergrad college at the institution?

Forgive me for rambling, but I am seriously concerned about my academic future. Those who see me as overly pedantic are entitled to their own opinion, but I seriously don't want to end up here in 5 years with that same "HELP 3.0 AT NON-TARGET NO INTERNSHIP WHAT TO DO???" post that only receives sanguine responses. I've been obsessed with watching college decision videos on YouTube and I see countless great students rejected from all the Ivies and only accepted to mediocre schools like Boston University and Villanova, but other students with mediocre tests scores and grades studying at Princeton and Northwestern because they made themselves look unique.

Finance is an incredibly meritocratic industry, and I am curious how all of you made it in. Please share tips on how to brand myself as someone different compared to the rest of the students at my high school so I can get into a decent school.


Comments (10)

Jun 3, 2018

Hey david1238, I'm the WSO Monkey Bot and I'm here since nobody responded to your thread! Bummer...could just be time of day or unlucky (or the question/topci is too vague or too specific). Maybe one of these topics will help:

  • How much does Legacy/Letters of Rec mean for MBA admissions? another top 5. Will this play into my chances as much as it does at some undergrad institutions or is the ... I have direct legacy through my dad at a top 5 MBA program and legacy through my aunt/uncle at ... difference negligible? Another side question: Do letters of rec from alums do anything? advice business ...
  • How prevalent still is "Legacy Preference" at Ivys? For example what % of ugrad and mba students at Harvard are legacy students? What is the ... acceptance rate compared to that of a normal applicant? How does this % compare to Ivys as a whole? How much ... x% higher chance of admittance, does this come into play at all to you when contemplating the cost of ..
  • How much does college [geographical] prestige actually matter? finance to tech. I've read that the name of the college matters and that, at least on the east coast, ... Exeter). In this case, is the college I go to still very valuable, or can I rely on my high school network ... Hi, I have the option of going to a top east coast liberal arts college (Amherst) or a more STEM ...
  • How much of what you learn in college is useful? Monkeys, How much of what you learn in college is actually useful in investment banking and high ... entirety of my career. Compared to those skills attained throughout your years in college, how valuable is ... analysts so that they can properly function in investment banking roles. How much of
  • UNDERGRAD: How Much Debt Is Too Much Debt it/too much? All advice is much appreciated. b school debt undergrad advice ... take Economics in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am a URM from south New York, and you might of ... been able to guess, will have some serious trouble affording NYU. You probably already know that NYU is ...
  • How is Personal Finance Not a Required Course in High School or College? If I could create my custom schedule at college, I would take the basics of every type of business ... way though. You can study the basic core in high school, and then liberal arts in college, never ... touching a basic business or finance class in your life. How is this possible? How does an entire ...
  • I didn't even know what Investment Banking was until my junior year of college lol (Information is key) the importance of a high school GPA because none of my friends (at the time) did either. Nobody told ... of the kids at my school didn't give a fuck either. All I wanted to do after school was smoke ... me what I was going to do. I was pretty close to one of my councilors, and she pretty much forced me ...
  • More suggestions...

Any pros willing to rescue this discussion? @scottsq @wolfy @Kent-Brook

I hope those threads give you a bit more insight.

Jun 5, 2018


Jun 5, 2018

3.92 is a mediocre GPA? Does that mean you got a B once? I must be missing something.

Jun 6, 2018

You're correct; I got a B during my first semester. This is actually quite mediocre considering my friends and classmates mostly have 4.0s.

Jun 6, 2018

Grade inflation at its finest.

Jun 21, 2018

Btw Mr. Fuld, seeing that you're a CEO I'm going to assume you are in your 40s or 50s - 40 years ago, you could get into Brown with a 3.6 and decent essays, nowadays you need a 5.3 and every EC possible to have a chance at UVA

    • 3
Jun 6, 2018

"But at the University of Chicago, legacy status doesn't give an applicant a better chance for acceptance. According to deputy dean of admissions Veronica Hauad, being a legacy does make the applicant stand out to admissions counselors, but it won't get them into the college.

"Being a legacy student doesn't usually help or hurt a student's chances of getting into college, like any other 'hook' in the process," Hauad explained. "A hook is a little something in an applicant's file that makes them noticeable -- for example, legacy status is a hook, but so is being a first-generation student with parents who never graduated from college. We are excited about both of those kinds of students.""

Jun 7, 2018

There is some dissonance in the quote. It starts by mentioning how legacy status doesn't present a better chance for acceptance, but then contradicts itself in the end. I think the school released that to avoid pissing off parents of low-income/underachieving students.

Most Helpful
Jun 6, 2018