Affording Applications

The college admissions process can be time-consuming and strenuous, but it is crucial for students who plan to attend college. With the many factors associated with college admissions, the cost of applications is important, but not always initially considered during the application process.

Melinda Stephan, College and Career Coordinator, said while some colleges do not have any application fees, others can range up to $90.

She said, “I do think, sometimes (students) are surprised at how much costs can add up quickly…A lot of colleges have a way to waive the application fee if you meet certain income guidelines. So for (those) students, they sometimes don’t have to pay that fee. But for students that don’t qualify for those waivers, it can start to feel a bit stressful.”

While this cost is not a concern for some students, for many, college application fees are an essential consideration. Senior Andrew Morozov said via email that before the college application experience he had not discerned all the costs associated with applying, however the costs made him redefine his college search and make more informed choices.

He said, “Going into my college search I really had no idea what I wanted or what was best for myself. I put tons of schools on my college list only to realize that the total for sending all of the applications and test scores for these school was over $600. The fees made me force myself to narrow my college search down and truly understand what was important for me and my future, because as nice as it would be to apply to a variety of different schools and see which one will give you the greatest scholarship and benefit, that just wasn’t a feasible option for myself.”

Senior Andrew Morozov visits college application sites during his lunch period. Morozov said taking application costs into consideration has allowed him to refine and reshape his college search.

Stephan said in addition to application fees, the cost of sending out test scores is also a price that can start to add up, but some colleges have started to take steps to combat these issues.

She said, “I’ve gotten several emails saying some colleges—not all—are no longer requiring students send their official scores from ACT or College Board. In other words they can self report the scores on their application on their application… because it costs a lot of money to send your scores. If you don’t get those four free scores sent when you sign up… it’s (around) $12 per test and that adds up if you’re sending them to five or six schools.”

Morozov said he thinks application fees helped him narrow down his college list to colleges he could actually see himself attending, rather than colleges that could simply offer a good scholarship.

“I have applied to about a third of the schools that I wanted to so far, but I am confident that one of those schools will have everything that I am looking for. In addition, application fees can help weed out those who are truly considering a school from those who simply send their applications to as many schools as possible in hopes of receiving a good scholarship,” Morozov said. “I think the college admissions program is good as it is right now and forces you to put extensive thought into the whole process.”

Although some do not have to consider application fees, for those like Morozov, the cost helps them find and realize their true goals for the future, and make holistic decisions on what they want their college experience to entail.

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Alanna Wu