Carleton ends legacy admissions
Carleton will no longer take into consideration an applicant’s legacy status when determining whether to offer them admission to the College.
Carleton will no longer take into consideration an applicant’s legacy status—whether they have family members who previously attended the institution—when determining whether to offer them admission to the College. The change was announced Aug. 31, 2023, by President Byerly in a message sent to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and family members of current students.
While legacy status has historically not played a significant role in decisions at Carleton, it has at times merited a slight advantage within a pool of academically qualified applicants, where other characteristics are generally comparable.
“Nevertheless, we recognize that in a highly competitive process, even a slight advantage can have an impact on outcomes,” Byerly said. “We believe that our goal of expanding access makes this the right time to discontinue legacy preference.”
She noted that Carleton’s Community Plan for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity states a goal of increasing representation of historically underserved students at Carleton, and the College’s upcoming strategic plan outlines strategies for improving access for students from a range of backgrounds, including first-generation students and students with high levels of financial need.
In recent years, somewhere between 6 and 9 percent of the class typically has a Carleton parent, with a higher percentage claiming another family affiliation.
“We have benefited greatly by having students who bring a deep history of family connection and a special understanding of Carleton traditions and culture,” Byerly said. “We expect that we will continue to welcome many such students to Carleton. There may be no greater mark of an alum’s deep connection to Carleton than their willingness to trust us to educate and nurture their own children. With this decision, we strive only to expand that impact, and to continue welcoming new families into our remarkable community of Carls for generations to come.”