As you begin to narrow down your list of colleges to which you will apply, your calculator may begin to work overtime as it computes the cost of your application fees.
Many schools do charge a rather high fee to submit an application for admission, however, there are several ways to avoid those application fees at some, if not all of the colleges you want to apply to for admittance.
Do You Have Financial Need?
The first and easiest way to attempt to get your fee waived is to demonstrate that you and your family have financial need. Chances are, if you are eligible for a testing fee waiver, the application fee may be waived as well.
You can get fee waivers from The College Board and/or the National Association of College Admission Counseling, provided you and your parents are able to document your financial hardship. Some colleges will also accept a letter from a guidance counselor at your school, testifying as to your financial need, as a fee waiver for an application.
So, if you know going in that your parents cannot pay the fees for all of the applications, make the guidance office your first stop and fill them in on what is going on, finance wise!
Research School Policies
If you are tech savvy (what high schooler isn't?) then do some online research about the colleges you like. Do they require a paper application or will they take an online application?
Some schools will waive the fee if you agree to apply online instead of via a mailed application. It may mean a bit more work for you; scanning test scores and transcripts and recommendations so they can all be uploaded along with your application, but if you are willing to take those few extra moments to gather your documentation, then the cost to apply may be nothing! It’s worth the paperwork!
Drop an Application Off in Person
Are you visiting the schools to which you are applying in the fall of your senior year? If that answer is yes, make sure you pack your SAT scores, copies of your transcript and copies of your letters of recommendation with you for your road trip. Sometime during your visit, stop by the admissions office to see if you can drop off your information and ask if you can submit an application right now.
Even if they cannot meet with you that date, asking the Admissions Office representative about a fee waiver may result in a positive response. Admissions Officers are much more likely to work with you because you have demonstrated interest by visiting.
Many schools do require you to schedule an appointment before you just drop into the office, so get on the phone, set up some true face time, and leave with a fee waiver for the application! What could be easier?
Finally, as your mother always taught you, “it never hurts to ask…nicely!” Get in touch with your top four college choices and write a letter of introduction. Explain just how interested you are in their school, list what makes you stand out from the crowd, and then, request a fee waiver. The fact that you took the time to get in touch before the application process begins will make a good impression and will most likely merit you a waiver for the application fee!
The college experience is costly, there is no doubt about that at all. However, the application process does not have to be, if you as the student are willing to take a few extra steps to eliminate or at least reduce the cost of a myriad of application fees. Try these tips, always put your best foot forward, whether it is in person or on paper, and see what results you procure for yourself! Good luck with the application process!
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