Why do some US universities request parent's educational level in graduate admissions application?

  • 1
    If you are worried, I doubt that any US institution could use that information to reject a candidate. It would be considered wrong nearly everywhere, I think (and hope). While it might be a weak predictor of success, it isn't a predictor of failure.
    – Buffy
    Nov 17, 2018 at 12:53
  • 5
    This is likely part of general information gathering or is part of their attempt to monitor how diverse a pool of applicants they have.
    – JoshuaZ
    Nov 17, 2018 at 13:12

1 Answer 1


Many institutions have an interest or incentive in serving first-generation college students, i.e. students whose parents do not have college degrees. This can be seen as a way to reduce educational or economic inequality.

It's possible that in some cases there may be some sort of preference given to such students. More likely, it's for statistical purposes only, to see how well they are doing at reaching first-generation students.

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