In 2011 Harvard accepted 6.2% of applicants. But, according to William R. Fitzsimmons, the director of admissions at Harvard, they accepted 30% of the legacy applicants who applied.
According to Fitzsimmons, legacy candidates are better qualified than regular candidates. However, more than 14,000 applicants had above a 700 on the SAT critical reading and more than 17,000 had higher than 700 on the math section of the SAT. 3,800 were ranked first in their high school class.
Given the high quality of the typical applicant to Harvard I think it is disingenuous to say that legacy applicants are better qualified than legacy applicants. Particular to result in admissions almost 5 times higher.
Does Harvard have a right to admit whoever they wish? Absolutely. And they have the absolute right to give preference to legacy students if they wish to do so. But don’t insult us by saying that legacy students are admitted at a higher rate because they are so much stronger than other candidates.