At a cursory glance legacy admissions may seem like any other layer of preference an institution applies to their admissions processes; however, the data indicates that great disparities in the diversity of the successful applicants may point to an even greater issue of inequality and inequity.
As is the case being presented in the Supreme Court against Harvard.
Harvard University is being challenged for being in contravention of its own admissions policies and flouting its objectives by offering preferential admission to a significant amount of white and high-earning applicants, resulting in a less diverse selection.
In the college world, the Ivies tend to be the "trend setters". We see it all the time: Colombia University removes standardized testing requirements and other colleges follow... Brown University removes the requirement for the SAT essay and other colleges follow... MIT reinstates the need for SAT scores and other colleges follow.
It is safe to say then, that since Harvard has come under fire for their legacy admissions policies, it has opened the flood gates of discussion for whether or not legacy admissions is helpful or harmful to college campus communities.
Regardless of the ruling of the Court, applicants should be optimistic that these conversations are happening, and we are inching towards the end of the era of legacy admissions. This means that greater opportunities now exist for students to gain admissions to the school of their choice. Though the playing field may not be completely level, there is a greater fighting chance!