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July 19, 2023

Wesleyan Univ. to formally halt legacy admissions, citing U.S. Supreme Court decision

The Wesleyan University campus in Middletown

Wesleyan University has announced it will formally end admission preference for “legacy applicants,” or those whose relatives have attended.

President Michael S. Roth made the announcement Wednesday in a letter to the university community. 

According to Roth, legacy status has played a “negligible role” in Wesleyan’s admission process, and the university routinely seeks students from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances. 

“Nevertheless, in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding affirmative action, we believe it important to formally end admission preference for ‘legacy applicants,’” Roth said.

He indicated that Wesleyan still values ongoing relationships that can come from multiple generations attending the university. However, there will be no “bump” in the selection process, he said.  

“As has been almost always the case for a long time, family members of alumni will be admitted on their own merits,” he said. 

When deciding on which candidates to admit, Wesleyan routinely weighs a variety of factors, such as high school academic record, college essay, letters of recommendation and community involvement, according to Roth.

He indicated Wesleyan will continue its efforts to ensure student body diversity through its recruitment efforts. The creation of an annual scholarship program to recruit and support a group of undergraduates from Africa, redoubling efforts to recruit veterans, and increasing outreach to Title I high schools are examples of those efforts, Roth said.

Additionally, Wesleyan is focused on increasing financial aid support, according to Roth. That will include helping to keep students’ need for loans to a minimum. The university will also increase awareness of its three-year program, so students can finish college faster and save money. It also plans to develop more free credit bearing courses which can be taken online or via a hybrid model, he said.

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