Need Aware in Admissions

Need Aware Colleges, Need Blind Colleges, Need Aware in Admissions

We suspect the fellow who wrote into our college admissions blog was not THE Allan Houston of the New York Knicks. In fact, it probably wasn’t. But we love Allan Houston anyway.

Highly selective colleges are need aware in admissions. They’re not need blind. A gentleman by the name of Allan Houston wrote into our blog about the Ivy League colleges that we don’t believe do right by veterans. Mr. Houston wrote, “As a veteran, all I expected or wanted was to be treated the same as my fellow students. Brown has a strong financial aid program for all students, including veterans. Youe (sic) website assumes veterans want or need something BETTER than being treated fairly. But that is not true.” Well, first off, we’d like to thank Allan Houston for writing into our college admissions blog. Allan, you may not know this but we are huge Knicks fans (we know, it’s embarrassing of late). That shot that you hit against Pat Riley’s Heat team remains one of our fondest basketball memories. Little did you know you were writing to some big 1990’s Knicks fans and you, along with the late great Anthony Mason, were among our favorite all-time players (shout out to Charles Oakley and Patrick Ewing, too). But anyway, with respect to your comment (and, yes, we fully realize it was likely either a fake name or another Allan Houston since Allan Houston of the New York Knicks has never served in the military)…

You got us. We do believe veterans should be treated better. We believe they should be treated better than anyone. After all, they risked their lives in service to our country and deserve to benefit from a first rate American education. As to Brown having “a strong financial aid program,” you should know that no highly selective college — including Brown — is need blind. Rather, they are need aware. Think about it…If they admitted a class in which everyone needed financial aid, they’d have to dip into their endowment, which is something a school never wants to do. Also, by sheer virtue of there being a question that is visible to admissions officers if an applicant needs financial aid means that no school that subscribes to the Common Application is need blind. Not for a long shot.

But don’t take our word for it. In 1995, Michael Goldberger, Brown University’s then Dean of Admissions (from 1995-2005) came out and declared that Brown was need-aware. While they may have claimed to switch to a need-blind system thereafter, our arguments above still hold water any way one tries to spin it (even if Allan Houston is doing the spin). And we don’t mean to single out Brown. Brown is but one of many universities that have need aware policies. Brown is no guiltier than any school in America. Need blind admissions is a total and complete farce.


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  • Ben says:

    Brown is “need aware” because its endowment is not large enough. Schools with larger endowments per student, like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, etc. do indeed have “need blind” admissions

    • Ivy Coach says:

      You can choose to believe that admission to Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Yale, etc. is “need blind,” Ben. You can also choose to believe in the Tooth Fairy…

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