Following in parents’ footsteps

What it means to be a legacy


The Clatch family enjoying the architecture at NU.

Some Carmel students struggle with selecting colleges and waiting for acceptance, but some have known their college plans  for their whole lives.

Senior Reilly Clatch’s parents both attended Northwestern University, so Clatch has grown up with a strong connection to the school.

We would go to sporting events and visit Evanston all the time. I fell in love with the school at a young age,” Clatch said, “then further appreciated it for its academics and student life”.

Some people think that having a family connection to a school increases a student’s chances of being accepted, but college counselor Brian Hendricks said that the decision isn’t always a lock.

“Some schools care a lot about legacies, while other schools it doesn’t have much of an effect on the decision” Hendricks said.

College loyalty and school spirit can be overwhelming in families that share the experience of attending the same college. Many of Carmel’s legacy students say that there hasn’t been an overwhelming amount of pressure to apply. Senior Ali Kolb’s dad and three older brothers attended Indiana University in Bloomington.

“My parents never put pressure on me to go to IU,” Kolb said. “They actually forced me to visit other schools so I would have the chance to see what other opportunities I could have.”

Reilly Clatch and her mother on Northwestern’s campus.

Senior Sammi Harvey is going to Loyola University Chicago. Both of her parents also went there, but Harvey says that their alumni status was more of a coincidence than a cause.

“I really wanted to be in Chicago, still be on college campus, and pursue theater–Loyola fit those,” Harvey said.

It’s one thing to go to a school where your parents went twenty years ago, but having a more immediate support can be even more comforting. Kolb is excited about transitioning from Carmel to a big university while leaning on her big brother.

“My brother, Peter, will be a senior at IU when I am a freshman, so I think we’re both happy to share a school one last time,” Kolb said.

When it comes to children and education, parents just want their kids to have the best possible experience. Many parents say, though, that fact that the college is familiar and comfortable for the family is huge bonus.

“My parents trust the school more and are able to see me as a student there,” Clatch said.