Duke Study Says Legacy Students Underachieve

Report claims they have lower-than-expected grades and shy away from natural sciences and engineering.


A Duke sociology professor published a study last month that claims legacy students at the school tend to underperform once class starts, the Chronicle reports. The professor compared Duke legacy students—those with family members who graduated from Duke—with students whose parents are also college-educated but not Duke alumni.

[They] collectively have lower-than-expected grades during freshman year, slightly lower SAT scores and typically do not choose to major in the natural sciences or engineering. According to self-reported academic skills, legacy students also had slightly lower levels of ability and confidence, although they normally close any academic gaps by the time they graduate.