Wesleyan University Ends Legacy Admissions

The institution will focus on enhancing diversity through increased financial options and aggressive recruitment of diverse students.
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Published on July 20, 2023
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  • On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court ended race-conscious admissions practices in higher education, which began in the late 1960s in an effort to diversify student populations.
  • In the wake of this decision, Wesleyan University has chosen to do away with legacy admissions practices.
  • Instead, the institution said it will enhance its diversity efforts through increased financial aid and recruitment tactics.
  • Wesleyan is the latest of at least four institutions to seemingly end legacy admissions in response to the court's decision.

Just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to affirmative action at U.S. colleges and universities, Wesleyan University has announced it will end legacy admissions practices.

In a statement released Wednesday, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth referenced the court's recent decision as the primary driver of the institution putting a formal end to the practice, despite it having little bearing on the school's acceptance of students over time.

"An applicant's connection to a Wesleyan graduate indicates little about that applicant's ability to succeed at the University," Roth said. "... that legacy status has played a negligible role in our admission process for many years."

Roth stressed that while the institution will continue to value the "ongoing relationships" between generations of Wesleyan graduates, applicants with family members who are alumni will only be admitted by their own merits and receive no "bump" in the selection process.

Further, Wesleyan plans to continue its efforts to increase diversity within its student body by expanding its recruitment of community college graduates, veterans, and students from diverse backgrounds throughout the nation and the world.

Additionally, the Connecticut-based institution will increase its financial aid offerings by developing more free credit-bearing courses online and giving more visibility to its three-year option, which can help reduce students' education costs.

Wesleyan is one of a growing handful of institutions to formally announce that it will be ending preferential legacy admissions in the wake of the Supreme Court's end to race-conscious admissions practices.

Earlier this week, the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campuses also announced it will no longer consider race, legacy, or family employment in its admissions practices.

Continuing to consider these factors in the admissions process "... was not adding additional insight into enrolling academically prepared students," Keri Risic, executive director of admissions, told the Star Tribune.

And while no formal announcement has been made by either institution, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh's latest Common Data Sets indicate for the first time that alum relation is "not considered" in first-time, first-year admissions.