UC Berkeley doesn’t consider legacy status in admissions

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Crystal Zhong/File

UC Berkeley admissions do not consider legacy status as part of its application process.

UC spokesperson Ricardo Vazquez said in an email that the undergraduate application purposely does not include any portion that refers to their relatives’ past attendance.

“The University of California does not consider the legacy status of undergraduate applicants at any point during the admissions application and review processes,” Vazquez said in an email.

In April 2015, campus adopted a freshman admissions policy that allows the submission of optional letters of recommendation. According to the policy, the campus will only allow letters of recommendation from applicants if specifically requested by admissions staff.

Vazquez added that items such as questionnaires and recommendation forms also do not contain any items related to the legacy status of the applicant.

“All items included in the University’s undergraduate application and any supplementary materials are directly relevant to the admissions comprehensive review process which does not include consideration of legacy,” Vazquez said in an email.

Ruth Starkman, who served as an external reader for the campus admissions process, said in an email that the legacy applicants go into a “special” pile that the regular application readers do not see. According to Starkman, the criteria by which legacy student’s applications are judged remain undisclosed. Stark published an article called “Confessions of an Application Reader,” in The New York Times, in which she outlined the process for looking over campus applications.

29.3 percent of the Harvard incoming class of 2021 were legacy students, with at least one relative previously attending Harvard University, as reported by The Crimson.

Campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore said that campus admissions does not have data of legacy students from the past, when legacy status was taken into consideration for admission. Campus, several  decades ago, used to consider legacy status as part of its application, Gilmore said in an email.

Sarahi Nunez, a campus freshman and intended business and economics major, said that both of her parents are campus alumni. Her father majoring in Chicano studies graduated in 1999, and her mother studying education graduated in 2000.

According to Nunez, her father worked for a program where he talked to migrant students about what coming to campus is like. Nunez said that they met when, as part of his job, her father made a phone call to her mother.

Nunez said that when she was younger, her parents brought her to events at Berkeley and visited the campus. Although her parents said her options for colleges were open, Nunez said, they wanted her to attend the campus.

“This was my number one choice,” Nunez said. “Not only for Haas, but I grew up around this school and I really enjoy the atmosphere. I really enjoy the group of students.”

Nunez’s grandparents on her father’s side immigrated to The United States from Mexico, and her mother immigrated from Mexico when she was six years old. Both of her parents lived in the East Bay.

Nunez said that attending the same university as her parents is very meaningful. She said that her parents came to campus to bring a better life for her, and attending the campus she is doing the same thing for her own family.

“Obviously I wanted to come to this school, it wasn’t just because of them,” Nunez said. “But it’s just like ‘your struggle was worth something, now that I’m here, your struggle was worth something.’”

Nunez said that her parents always told her to do her best, learn from her mistakes, and to keep going. Nunez said that attending UC Berkeley is a sign to her parents that they raised her well and that they were good parents.

“They raised me to keep fighting and to not give up and that’s basically what I’m doing here,” Nunez said.

Contact Ella Colbert at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @colbert_ella.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article failed to introduce campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore.