Legacy kids aren’t the customers, they’re part of the productPosted: November 13, 2012
Today, the CHE talks about legacy admissions: letting in dumb rich kids with well-connected alumni parents even though they don’t have the academic chops. This is crystal clear to me: they have to. It is integral to their brand and their marketing.
Listen, a Harvard undergraduate degree isn’t what it is because….what?… the classes are super good? Ha. You learn more? Ha ha. No. Clearly not even Harvard thinks so, because you don’t give away for free online something you can charge >$200,000 for. You aren’t paying for a Harvard education, for Harvard classes. You are paying for a Harvard experience and a Harvard opportunity. An undergraduate degree at Harvard is an entrée to the the economic and political elite. It is about the name, the network, and the class of opportunities afforded to those who share this experience.
In order to ensure that you, as an institution, can perform this…hmm….pimping seems a strong word…concierge-like social service, you have to actually have a fairly strong connection to these elites. Et voila: legacies. Best case scenario is to have a lot of these well-heeled dolts taking up space on your campus, ready to mingle (in fact, why not make them stay on your campus for all four years, in your dorms). You build an insular community such that students never get more than one T-stop away, and stir.