Preparing for College

Did Financial Aid Application Affect Ivy League Decisions?

Question: My daughter applied to the Ivies in the "financial aid required" category and did not get in. From information gathered since then, I believe that she probably would have secured admission if she had applied in a " no financial need" category. What are your thoughts?

Unless your daughter is an international student (i.e., NOT a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident), her financial aid application did NOT affect her admission verdict. All eight Ivies are "need blind" for domestic applicants. Some, however, do consider need when evaluating non-citizens.


Keep in mind that these most sought-after institutions often turn away 10 fully qualified students for each one they admit. A Harvard admissions dean once conceded that he and his colleagues could select an entire freshman class from the application folders in the "reject" pile that would be equally strong as the class actually admitted.

Without knowing anything about your daughter and her strengths, I can't weigh in responsibly on why she was not accepted by her top choice colleges. But, unless she's an international student, I can safely say that it wasn't due to her financial need. If she is an international student, money might have been a factor in her decision, depending on exactly where she applied.

Please do assure your daughter that loads of amazing applicants are denied by the Ivy League schools and their hyper-competitive counterparts every year. So, if it's of any consolation to her, she is in excellent company, and these admission decisions say nothing about her success so far nor about the success that may lie ahead.

Best wishes to her, wherever she enrolls.