Your first rattle was engraved with “Centre”…Your first onesie said “Future Colonel”… Your nursery was decorated in Gold and White.  Well, not exactly, but you probably have walked down Memory Lane more than once as your parents and/or grandparents relived their glory days in Danville.  Congratulations…you are a Centre Legacy.  This title doesn’t come with a crown or a trophy but rather exceptional insight into the college process, with a small dash of pressure.

We Centre alums are loyal, sometimes to the extreme.  We loved our “Centre Experience” and expect that our flesh and blood should too.   This fervent love of Centre Dear can be enviable and influential.  Overwhelming and on occasion suffocating? You bet.  So how do you, as a Centre legacy, maneuver through your college admission process?  Here is some advice to help carry you through:

  1. Recognize that you have an “in.” No, this doesn’t mean that you are automatically admitted, but rather that you have the inside track to first-hand information.  Your Centre connections can provide great anecdotal information.  Quiz them…ask them about the aspects of Centre they cherish, but also ask them about growth opportunities.   This can lead to a very productive discussion about your academic ambitions, preparation and extracurricular interests.
  2. Be open-minded. Exploring the alma mater of a loved one does not mean that you are an unoriginal copycat.  Your “Centre Experience” can be completely different from your loved ones, yet all can be exceptionally meaningful.   Having Centre on your list means that you are taking a mature approach to the college process and realizing your opportunities.  Give Centre a fair shake just like you would any other college.  You may be pleasantly surprised to find out that Centre is the perfect fit for you.  On the flip side, you may realize that you are forcing a “good fit” and Centre truly isn’t the best choice for you.  Either way it is valuable and worth the effort.
  3. Visit Campus.  Attending a Centre Homecoming five years ago doesn’t count.  Schedule an individualized visit or attend a group event through the Admission Office.  Take full advantage of class options, professor meetings and activities to explore your areas of interest.  Also, tour campus with a student tour guide…you want to know what student life is like now, not 20 years ago.  Fair warning: plan to be a good sport if an alum accompanies you on your visit.  Allow some time for reminiscing, accompany this loyal alumnus down Memory Lane, but please abstain from eye-rolling as you hear about the your dad “Running the Flame” for the 100th time.
  4. Take Ownership of the Process.   It is important to share your Centre connections on your application and with the Admission Office.  Please don’t make assumptions that we already know every branch and nut in your family tree.  Our history includes many extended families…making assumptions about family ties invites room for error.  Therefore, it is best if you just tell us.  Also, inquire about special opportunities for legacy applicants like the Legacy Award.
  5. Don’t Rely on your Family Connections.  While our mission, commitment to extraordinary success, and beloved traditions remain the same, it is wise to recognize that positive changes have taken place on campus: the profile of the current Centre student is stronger than ever before; the facilities are more impressive; the study abroad opportunities are more accessible and far-reaching.  Learn what’s new and current.   Being a legacy is important but it will not trump the Admission Committee’s desire to render a decision that is in your best interest.  For example, your legacy status will not compensate for a poorly written essay.  Therefore, you need to take the admission process seriously and complete the application to the best of your ability.  Give Centre’s application your best effort, just as you would any other serious consideration.
  6. Ultimately, It Is Your Decision (sort of). Your parents and/or grandparents can’t write your papers, take your exams, or be your roommate.  They can offer their perspective, guidance, conversation and support.  Don’t choose Centre just because you are a fifth generation legacy and worried about breaking a family tradition.  Don’t choose Centre just to make your parents happy. Choose Centre because it is the best fit for you at this time in your life.  Make an educated and well informed decision about your future. Who knows?  You may find that you are bringing your own legacy to Centre’s Homecoming, spelling Centre in colored blocks for a “Future Colonel,” and passing down that “Centre” rattle.
More in Advice
Brown Fellowship FAQ