If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know where we stand on the issue of need-blind admissions. It’s a total, absolute farce. While many colleges purport to be need-blind, no college is truly need-blind. And if an admissions officer tells you to the contrary, you can choose to believe that. You have that right. Think about it. It asks if a student needs financial aid on the Common Application. Admissions officers can see the answer to this question with their own two eyes. If admissions was truly need-blind, why would this question be posed on the same application that admissions officers are reviewing when deciding upon whether or not to admit you? Any suggestion that this answer isn’t taken into account is unfounded.
Also, if colleges were truly need-blind, they’d have to dip into their endowments in order to subsidize the costs of these expensive educations. Colleges rely on tuition dollars. If a school admitted a class in which every student needed financial aid, they’d be in financial peril (with some schools in more peril than others that boast bigger endowments). The fact is that colleges are not need-blind. They are need-aware. And, on this note, there is an interesting announcement coming out of Dartmouth College today.
As reported in a piece about need-aware admissions by Noah Goldstein and Erin Lee for America’s oldest college newspaper, “The Dartmouth,” “International applicants to the Class of 2020 will be considered under a ‘need-aware’ policy, as opposed to the ‘need-blind’ policy used for the past eight years, College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an email. The admissions office had been need-blind for international students from the Class of 2012 through the Class of 2019.” While we applaud Dartmouth for being upfront that they’re now need-aware for international applicants, they’ve been very well aware of need for international applicant for the last eight years too.
Indeed at highly selective colleges — and not just at Dartmouth (which should be applauded for being upfront and honest about this policy, unlike other schools) — international applicants will have tougher odds of gaining admission if they need financial aid. There are enough students in America who need financial aid that colleges are reluctant to admit international students who too need aid. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.
Have a question about need-aware policies at highly selective colleges? Post your question below as a Comment and we’ll be sure to write you back.