Paying for College

When "Need Blind" Colleges Ask If You'll Need Aid

Question: The Common Application asks you to indicate on Page 1 whether you will be seeking financial aid. So do the Form 1's for some colleges that I thought were need blind. This means that admissions committees have access to this information when they make decisions (although they don't know how much you'll need). Does this suggest that colleges may not be as "need blind" as they claim to be?

This information is typically not used by admission evaluators in any significant way. Occasionally, it may make admission officers curious. That is, they see an applicant who had two parents in snazzy-sounding corporate jobs who check that “yes” box, and ponder what mysterious truths lurk below the surface; while the daughter of a single-mom/nurse’s aide might indicate “no.” (Adcom members might fleetingly wonder if the latter was an error or if the young woman had a special source of assistanceâ€"a kindly maiden aunt or Sugar Daddy, perhaps?). Seriously, though, once evaluators get past that page one, there’s not much thought given to how the aid question was answered.

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