Children of alumni (aka legacies) are more likely to get into elite colleges than students with equal qualifications without the legacy card. Remember that a hundred years ago, elite colleges were predominantly white, male, and wealthy. So if the legacy tradition has been in place for decades, these elite institutions have been discriminating against women and people of color simply by reserving the right to admit children of alumni.
At the start of the 20th century, these legacy policies were a deliberate strategy to keep Jewish students out of elite colleges. When children of alumni’s GPA and SAT scores were lower than Jewish students, these elite colleges needed to give their legacy students an advantage. This was blatant discrimination.
One of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, rejected the system of hereditary privilege of the English monarchy. He hoped America could be a natural aristocracy based on virtue and talent. And today in 2019, I’d like to see the end of the legacy loophole.