Preparing for College

Will Alum Donation Boost Admission Odds?

Question: My husband went to a small liberal arts college. He has been donating to the annual fund for 15 or so years. He would love for our son to attend this school, and he has increased his donation (a bit) because he hopes the Admissions folks will notice. But the amounts he gives are not large in the big scheme of things, and I am wondering if it really makes a difference whether he gives $250, $500 or $1,000 (for example). This is a school with a large endowment, and plenty of alums are funding new dorms, etc. I would love to hear your perspective. Thanks.

Unless the donation in question is a real biggie (much larger than any of the numbers you've mentioned) I don't see it making a significant difference in admission outcomes. However, the fact that your husband does lend some support to his alma mater each year could have a small effect on your son's verdict down the road. In other words, the support itself counts more than the dollar amount ... unless we're talking the really serious bucks. So if your son is a borderline candidate, teetering between the "In" and "Out" piles, then his legacy status will work in his favor, and the fact that your husband has maintained this connection might be the plus that puts your son just ahead of other legacy contenders.

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