By Lisa Trowbridge, For The Miami Student

For most, the search for colleges starts junior or senior year of high school. But, for some students, the decision is made before they even hit middle school. These students are legacies, meaning they have family members who are alumni.

At Miami, legacies make up a substantial proportion of the student population. According to enrollment data for the class of 2019, 32 percent of first-year students are legacies.

Overall, 13 percent of first-year students have a parent, 11 percent have a sibling and the other 8 percent have extended family members who attended Miami. This trend is consistent with results from similar studies conducted the three previous years.

Three percent of first-years are children of Miami Mergers — couples who both attended Miami. For these students, going to Miami can be a tradition, even something they decide at a young age.

Alumnus Craig Huffman (’84) said his daughter, a first-year at Miami, knew since she was little that she wanted to attend the same college as her Miami Merger parents.

“We would come up to Miami on weekends to watch football games … She even did a report on Miami when she was in the fourth or fifth grade,” Huffman said. “She always knew she wanted to come here.”

Huffman’s daughter Meredith said her childhood memories of Miami made her feel at home. Her parents told her about their college experiences, but what really made her feel comfortable was visiting the campus with her friends and family.

“I’m friends with the daughters of my dad’s college friends, so we’d come up to Miami with them and camp out for the games,” She said.

Even so, she wanted to keep an open mind about other schools. Although she considered many, she always knew in the back of her mind she belonged at Miami. It wasn’t that she was pressured by her parents or recruited more heavily by the university, it was that she felt the most comfortable here.

“I toured a bunch of different places, but I liked Miami the best,” Huffman said.

First-year student Frannie Comstock agrees that having alumni in her family also made Miami feel like home from early on. Not only did both of her parents attend Miami, her father taught a class here for one semester, and her cousin is a recent graduate.

“Even before I went here, Miami was familiar to me,” Comstock said. “It’s changed a lot since my parents were here, but since my cousin was here recently, she was able to give me a clear perspective of what it’s like.”

Like many students, Comstock followed in her parents’ footsteps, who both participated in theater at Miami. Comstock is a media and culture major, and also has her own show on MU’s radio station. But for her, it was always a choice, not something she felt pressured to do.

“They never tried to push it on me,” she said. “They enjoyed their experiences here and in theater, but I didn’t feel any pressure in a negative way.”