ways to save money on college application fees

Posted : August 18, 2015
Last Updated : September 21, 2021

ways to save money on college application fees

Not only can attending college be expensive, but applying to college can be costly as well. With college application fees ranging between $25 to $90 per application, you can expect to spend hundreds of dollars (depending on how many schools to which you want to apply) on college before you are even accepted into a school. Utilize these tips to save money on college application fees.

Narrow down your college choices.

One of the easiest ways to save money on college application fees is to narrow down your college choices before you begin applying. Read College Selection: Picking the Right School for You to help you identify important school attributes and narrow down your list of schools. To save money, try to limit the schools to which you apply to about 2-3 reach schools and 2-3 safety schools.

Show a genuine interest in the school.

Some colleges will waive application fees to students who demonstrate a genuine interest in attending the school. You can exhibit a legitimate interest by:

  • Visiting the school
  • Participating in a college interview
  • Keeping in touch with the admission counselor who visits your region or school
  • Applying for early admission
  • Contacting the major department in which you are interested to inquire about internship opportunities for students, etc.

During your visit, inquire about the school's policy on waiving the application fee for this kind of situation.

Apply online.

Research the preferred method of applying for each school on your list. Some schools offer free online applications, yet charge a fee for paper submissions. This is because online applications save schools the cost of employing a staff member to physically enter the application information.

Have a connection.

At some schools, being a relative of a graduate can secure you a free application. If you are applying to a school where one of your parents or grandparents is an alumnus, check to see if you are eligible to receive a legacy waiver.

Apply during College Application Week.

Several states take part in College Application Week, where many schools in the participating states waive their application fee for the week. Be sure to contact the schools to which you are applying to see if they participate in College Application Week and when the program takes place in that state.

Apply for early admission.

If you have already decided on which college is your top choice, consider applying under an Early Action or Early Decision admission program. If you are accepted, you won't have to submit application fees to other schools.

Demonstrate financial need.

Most colleges provide some type of assistance for applicants who demonstrate financial need. Work with your high school counselor to obtain financial need fee waivers to schools on your list.

Ask for a fee waiver.

Don't be afraid to call a school and ask for a fee waiver. The worst they can say is "no." When calling, give emphasis to your high ACT/SAT test scores or GPA and the fact the school is your top choice.

For more information regarding college applications and the fees associated with them, contact your high school counselor or the admissions department at your school(s) of interest.

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ways to save money on college application fees

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