U gives admissions perks

by Cati Vanden Breul

Many colleges, including the University, give some extra weight to the children of full-time employees in their admissions process, according to a recent survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The survey of approximately 50 selective colleges included public institutions such as the University, The Ohio State University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and private ones such as Harvard University, Swarthmore College and Brown University. The majority of schools surveyed reported giving extra consideration to children of employees.

Wayne Sigler, the University of Minnesota Office of Admissions director, said children of full-time employees have an advantage, but it is one factor of many taken into account by the institution when admitting students.

“We have a holistic admissions process,” Sigler said. “We review each applicant individually and make an overall assessment of the factors in each application.”

The University of Minnesota has no quota system on how many employees’ children to admit and never has, he said.

The institution looks at primary and secondary factors when reviewing each admissions application.

Primary factors deal with the applicant’s high school academic performance – such as grade point average, ACT or SAT score – and course curriculum.

“These by far receive the strongest consideration,” Sigler said.

The admissions application for first-year students lists “family attendance or employment at the University of Minnesota” as a secondary factor.

“This was added to the list as a way to show appreciation for a family member’s contribution to the University of Minnesota,” Sigler said.

Factors such as the size of the applicant’s graduating class, race, work experience and community involvement are all taken into account as secondary factors.

Secondary factors give the applicant a bonus but are never controlling factors, Sigler said.

“It’s basically a plus factor that is helpful to an applicant that has a reasonable chance to be successful at the University (of Minnesota) and is in close academic standing with other applicants,” Sigler said.

Jean-Lucien Rudaz is the son of astronomy and physics professor Serge Rudaz.

As the child of a University of Minnesota employee, Jean-Lucien Rudaz said he does not think he is treated differently from other students.

“As far as benefits, I don’t know if there are any,” he said. “I don’t get a tuition break or anything.”

The University of Minnesota does not offer tuition breaks to the children of full-time employees, Sigler said, but many other colleges surveyed said they did.

The University of Minnesota’s policy of giving extra consideration to the children of employees is fair, Rudaz said, because “it helps keep employees happy.”

“It’s also financially better for the ‘U,’ ” he said.

University of Minnesota librarian Jan Nyberg, who has a son in high school, said she was not aware of the policy.

“That surprises me,” she said.

Sigler said the same consideration is given to the children of all full-time employees, from the lowest paid to the most influential.