Ultimate Guide to Need Blind Admissions
When college admissions officers are reviewing and assessing applications, financial aid can be an important part of the process. In this post, we will unpack the various policies that colleges may have and how this can impact how you apply for and pay for college. Specifically we will be covering:
- What are need blind admissions?
- What is need aware admissions?
- What colleges are need blind?
- Next steps for students
Keep on reading to learn everything you need to know about need blind admissions, and which specific colleges are need blind in their admissions process!
What are need blind admissions?
Need blind admissions is a financial aid policy that some colleges and universities practice. The policy is pretty simple and quite advantageous to students: when an admissions officer is evaluating an application, they are not taking into account the student’s ability to pay.
This means that the college will not be considering your financial situation at all. Need blind admissions is particularly advantageous for students who will be depending on a high amount of need-based financial aid support to pay for college.
However, just because a college is “need blind” does not mean that every applicant will receive financial aid. This is why we recommend that every students completes the Net Price Calculator to estimate their potential need-based financial aid at any college or university.
Let’s look at a specific example of a need blind policy. This policy is from Princeton University:
You have the same chance of being admitted whether or not you apply for financial aid. Princeton has a need-blind admission policy, which means that our Admission Office evaluates student academic and extra-curricular credentials without consideration of a family’s financial circumstances. This policy covers all applicants for admission, including international students.
One thing to note about Princeton’s policy is that their policy “covers all applicants for admission, including international students.” This is not the case for every college and university.
What is need aware admissions?
On the flip side, need aware admissions or need sensitive admissions is a policy where colleges do take into account an applicant’s ability to pay. In these situations, the admissions officer will have access to your Estimated Family Contribution or EFC which is the amount of money that your family can contribute to paying (according to the college’s financial aid methodology). Most colleges practice need aware admissions because most colleges have limited budgets for financial aid (as you can imagine, need blind admissions where financial aid is not taken into account could get very expensive).
The downside to need aware or need sensitive admissions for a student is that some applicants will be rejected or waitlisted because they can’t afford to pay. With this said, the applicants who will be most impacted are applicants who are on the borderline. In my experience as an admissions officer at a need aware college, the majority of applicants were not impacted by our need sensitive admissions policy.
What colleges are need blind?
The vast majority of colleges are need aware or need sensitive, so we will be focusing on the other colleges that are need blind.
Need blind for domestic & international applicants
The following colleges and universities are need blind for both domestic and international applicants:
- Amherst College
- Harvard University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Minerva Schools
- Princeton University
- Yale University
Need blind for domestic applicants only
And here are the schools that are need blind for domestic applications from the United States:
- Barnard College
- Boston College
- Bowdoin College
- Brown University
- California Institute of Technology
- Claremont McKenna College
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Dartmouth College
- Davidson College
- Duke University’
- Georgetown University
- Grinnell College
- Hamilton College
- Harvey Mudd College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Middlebury College
- Northwestern University
- Pomona College
- Rice University
- Stanford University
- Swarthmore College
- University of Chicago
- UNC-Chapel Hill
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Richmond
- University of Southern California
- University of Virginia
- Vanderbilt University
- Vassar College
- Wellesley College
- Williams College
Next steps for students
- Research the above need blind colleges and universities to see if they may be a fit for you! These schools will have some of the strongest need-based financial aid packages of any college!
- Complete the Net Price Calculator for very college on your list to get an estimate of need-based financial aid!
- If you are unlikely to receive need-based financial aid, you should consider colleges with strong merit scholarship programs!