Amy Sherman-Palladino is a sitcom mastermind. Her ability to craft loveable but flawed characters has ensured her shows have pretty diehard followings. The Gilmore Girls, for example, still has a serious cult following years after it went off the air. That doesn’t mean fans are blind to the series’ most significant plot holes. While Rory Gilmore was likable in many ways, some of her storylines during the series’ seven-season run were questionable. More than 12 years after Rory graduated from Yale, fans are still wondering how she got into the school and two other prestigious institutions. So, was Rory’s admittance into three Ivy League schools really plausible?
Rory had almost no extracurricular activities
Rory was a loner. Even as a small-town girl, she had exactly one friend and a boyfriend at any given time. When she entered Chilton, as a transfer, she wasn’t in a rush to make new friends, nor was she particularly interested in joining any extracurricular activities. Eventually, she joined the paper and ended up on the student council at Paris Geller’s urging, and she had exactly one day of community service under her belt when she graduated from the prestigious prep school.
It would be nice to think that extracurricular activities are no big deal when it comes to college applications, but they actually factor in pretty heavily. They are especially crucial at Ivy League schools. Competitive schools see countless applications from bright and well-qualified potential students. According to Prep Scholar, Ivy League schools look for students who have between five and six extracurricular activities on their record, but they’ll consider applicants who have just one or two long-term activities that show leadership progression.
Rory’s lack of willingness to try new things would have been a big red flag at most Ivy League schools, and it seems pretty unlikely that she would get into three just on her academic merit. Real-world applicants who are more qualified than the TV character will never see an acceptance letter from an Ivy League school, so Rory’s acceptance to Yale, Harvard and Princeton seem pretty unlikely.
Getting into Yale only would have made a lot of sense
While sending Rory to Yale when she had other options was undoubtedly a strategic move on Sherman-Palladino’s part, the likelihood of Rory having so many Ivy League options still makes very little sense. Her grades were good, but so were everyone else’s that apply to the world-renowned universities. Her SAT scores were fabulous, as well, but everyone who applies to such schools aced the standardized test, too. Rory could have pretty quickly gained entrance into Yale, though. After all, her grandfather graduated from the school, and both he and Emily Gilmore had enough money to be important donors. If the recent college admission scandal has taught us anything, it’s that money can make things happen.
Most top-tier schools set aside a certain number of class spots for children and grandchildren of former students. According to The Hoya, Georgetown University, for example, accepted 30% of its legacy applicants while only taking about 15% of general applicants. Georgetown is not technically an Ivy League school but is considered just as good in some academic circles.
Accepting legacy applicants is a reliable way to bolster alumni giving, and it also ensures well-rounded students will attend the school. When a student applies as a legacy, schools often assume the applicant already has an emotional connection to the campus. The emotional connection makes them more likely to actually attend.
Rory’s yacht stealing incident might have had her expelled from school
In the end, Rory got into Yale, whether on her own merit or through her grandfather’s connections, but staying in the program would have been pretty difficult. Yes, Rory was academically gifted, but she was also prone to making some genuinely ridiculous decisions. When she and Logan Huntzberger stole a yacht and are subsequently caught, everyone acted like it was no big deal. In a real-world scenario, Rory would have likely been expelled or suspended by the school or, at the very least, would have faced repercussions. Instead, she dropped out for a semester for reasons that are still a little baffling.
According to The Law Offices of Lance T. Marshall, a misdemeanor conviction can send a student packing from a university program. If a student is not suspended or expelled, they could face a loss of student housing or lose financial aid or scholarships they were awarded. Since Rory’s grandparents were paying for her education, that would not have been an issue, but the fact that the writers completely glossed over the incident has confused fans for years.