Typically, when evaluating applications, the admissions staff of an elite college do pay attention whether an applicant has family members who are alumni. MIT, Caltech and Johns Hopkins are exceptions. What is considered legacy even varies between colleges, with factors like:
- Relationship – Sibling attendance usually count and in some cases, so do grandparents.
- Graduation – Sometimes, the family members have to graduate, not just attend, to be considered alumni.
- Degree earned – Different colleges view graduate school attendance differently. For example, in this article, Harvard only considers parents who went there as undergraduates.
Additionally, it is a good idea to check with each college to see if legacy counts only during early action/early decision.