Johns Hopkins had ended admissions preferences for legacies. Let’s spend 3 days going through it. Day 3.

Johns Hopkins President Daniels:

And of course now we’re at 3.5 percent of the class is legacy, and we’ve fully extinguished any legacy benefit in our admissions program.

The subtle point which no one discusses: Do legacies do “better” than non-legacies of equivalent high school qualifications? If so, then we should give legacies an admissions advantage!

How to measure “better”? I am flexible. Academics is one measure: GPA, taking tutorials, taking more advanced classes outside your major, writing a thesis, impressing professors. Extra-curriculars are another. (I think Williams has done some (secret!) research into factors associated with “thriving” at Williams. A third measure is student satisfaction.

I bet that AR 2 students who are legacies are happier at Williams than AR 2 students who are not legacies. If that is true, shouldn’t we give preference to legacy AR 2s over non-legacy AR 2s?

So far, what are some of the effects of this change, good or bad?

Phillips. What that affords us to do is have the flexibility to greatly change the composition of our incoming class. It’s much more diverse, much more high achieving than it had been previously. We’ve had significant increases in the proportion of first-generation students in our class, female engineers; the racial composition has changed.

David Phillips is Hopkins’s vice provost for admissions and financial aid. Is he naive or does he think we are stupid?

1) How “greatly” can you change the composition of the class with just a 8.5% switch? They still have legacies, just not as many as at the peak. (And note how the graph only goes back to 2009. You can be sure they have older data. Can you guess why they don’t show it? I can!)

2) Legacies are not just legacies, they also overlap with all sorts of other categories of students. If you now reject an African-American legacy who you would have accepted, you can either replace her with a different African-American applicant or you can decrease the percentage of African-Americans.

3) Every elite college in the country is more “diverse” than it was, including places like Williams and Harvard which still give legacy preferences. Is Hopkins more diverse than they are? Not that I can see. (And note that Hopkins makes it harder to find their Common Data Sets than any other elite college. I can’t find them! Can you?)

And so on.

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