Preparing for College

Adoption as an Admission "Hook"

Question: My daughter is adopted. Should she mention it in her applications, and--if so--could this be a "hook" in the college admission process? Are there any special scholarships for adopted children?

Being adopted and talking about it in college application essays is fairly common these days. Typically, it’s not a “hook,” but a lot depends on your daughter’s circumstances and how she presents them. For instance, if she was adopted as an older child or spent time in the foster care system, this would certainly make her more atypical than a child who joined her new family as a baby. If her racial background is different than that of her adoptive parents, it might be fodder for an interesting essay, but frankly it won’t make her unusual in today’s competitive admission pool.

Your daughter’s race, religion, or ethnicityâ€"regardless of what it isâ€" might provide her with a hook, depending on where she applies, but the adoption factor would really be taking a back seat to other issues here. She doesn’t even necessarily have to have a minority background to get this type of hook. For instance, Smith College is seeking more Jewish students; Brandeis University, on the other hand, would like more applications from those who aren’t Jewish.

The vast majority of scholarships for adopted students are for those who were adopted from foster care. You can go to this site for information:

You may find some options that are applicable to you, if your daughter was not a foster child.

If you complete the registration form at, you may also turn up some opportunities for your daughter.

Good luck to you as you investigate what's out there, and please let us know if you turn up anything that sounds promising that we can pass along to other readers with adopted children.