No application fee?

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: May 2003 Archive: No application fee?
By Rowan (Rowan) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 12:30 pm: Edit

The title says it all -- which four year colleges in the United States waive the application fee?

Now, I don't mean for economically disadvantaged, but more with stipulations like 'if you apply online,' 'if you apply by XX date,' 'if you...' or simply if they don't have one.

So? I know they're out there.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 01:36 pm: Edit

Choosing YOUR group of colleges to apply to should be based upon a long list of things. The size of the applicataion fee should be very near the bottom of any such list.

After youve whittled down your list to include a safefy, a reach and a few probable choices, don't be too concerned about the application fees---that is just a one-time cost of getting into college. You've done a major piece of work coming up with a list of schools---any one of which you would be glad to go to (well, some more than others...)

Once you've jumped that hurdle, don't go applying to colleges "just because" they don't charge an application fee. That is a waste of your time and their time---mostly yours.

Once you've made your list and ran it by some advisor familiar with your stats, it's time to act confidently and make the best application you can to those schools. You don't have the TIME to do your best applications if you are trying to collect trophy acceptances to several colleges whose chief attribute (as far as YOU'RE concerned) is a free application fee.

Admissions officers know where else you've applied to---and they like to see a group of "competitors" that makes sense to them and you. They are NOT favorably impressed by a long list of wild shots--an indication of lack of confidence (or worse.)


If you really are having trouble coming up with the application fees for your very targeted group of colleges, simply letting them know of your situation by way of letter or formal fee waiver will be enough to get your application looked at. Colleges WANT to see applications from students that really want to attend and have the qualifications. Few colleges are getting rich on application fees.

By Pasific (Pasific) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 02:30 pm: Edit

How do admissions officers know where else you've applied besides their school?

By Thedad (Thedad) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 02:54 pm: Edit

MT, how do Admissions officers know where you've applied to?

I understand about schools sending out notices about their ED admittees to "likely competitive" schools but this is a new one on me.

By Rowan (Rowan) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 03:20 pm: Edit

First of all, I am not shopping for colleges to apply to. My list is fairly well cemented, and I'm merely waiting for the applications to arrive in the mail/be available online.

On the other hand, I do not have the $400+ I need to apply to all of them. I do not qualify, by income, for fee waivers. What then?

I asked for them because I've heard of some rather well-known colleges that don't require an application fee for particular cases (the 'apply online' thing has been the most frequent), and I wanted to see whether or not any of my schools matched any possible posts.

Besides, not even a free application would possibly induce me to apply to a school I didn't expect to attend under any circumstances.

By Cara811888 (Cara811888) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 04:33 pm: Edit

There was a thread on this on the April archive on What r my chances.."Free Application fees"

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 05:11 pm: Edit

I am curious: If you don't have the $ to apply to colleges yet you don't qualify for fee waivers, how will you afford to go to these colleges?

Even with need-based aid, college still tends to be very expensive for middle class people. It won't make any difference if you applied for free if it ends up that you get into colleges that you can't afford to go to.

I would suggest looking at the financial aid offerings of colleges before you make a decision about whether to apply. If they have good financial aid, surely it would be worth it to work to get the $ to pay the application fee.

Meanwhil, if you have a list of colleges that you're considering and you want to know if they waive the fee for on-line application just e-mail admissions or check their web sites.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 05:11 pm: Edit


"The College Board is a national nonprofit membership association whose mission is to prepare, inspire, and connect students to college and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the association is composed of more than 4,300 schools, colleges, universities, and other educational organizations."

That's how the College Board describes themselves.

Like most organizations, they exist to serve their members. While they may "prepare, inspire, and connect" students... they SERVE colleges. Students are NOT members. I don't doubt that one of the things they serve their members is any information submitted by a student--including what schools that student wants his scores sent to.

Even a student's score report that's sent to the student has the list of colleges where the report was sent... do you think the MEMBER college is going to get LESS information?


While score reports are not a certain indicator of the student actually applying to a particular set of colleges... it's a close indicator.

Many colleges also ask point-blank on the application, "What other schools have you applied to?" Lying about this (or anything else on an application) is a good way to get tossed out even after acceptance.


Rowan: Either your list of colleges is too long or you underestimated what it costs to even apply to colleges. You might be able to earn some money over the summer to pay for applications. Now, here's some information that you WANT to hear : look at the admissions web site for each college you're interested in... usually, on the page where they say, "How to apply..." they have a blurb about free online applications--if they offer them.

I really hope you will be resourceful enough to not avoid applying to a school you really feel is a good match for you--only because of the application fee. If possible, you may want to speak to a parent or counselor about this.

By Rowan (Rowan) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 09:16 pm: Edit

Thanks for those who pointed me to the related thread.

As for the comments on why I'm even asking if, et cetera: what difference does it make? I am applying for fee waivers; I doubt I will get them. I am applying for financial aid; I doubt I'll get much help there, either, but there are always loans and those I'm expecting.

I am applying to several private colleges and several public colleges. Not one of them is on my list for arbitrary reasons, mostly *because of* the fact that it costs so much (well, relative to 'free') to apply. I was anticipating $60+ fees, they just added up more quickly than I thought. One way or another, I will find a way to pay for it.

It was not originally a question pertaining to my particular circumstance, just a ponderance.

But thanks for your concern over my ignorance all the same.

By Nyguy (Nyguy) on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 10:01 pm: Edit

Colgate and Carleton offer free apps, as does University of Rochester, just use commonapp online. I applied to Carleton and Colgate as a result of that policy. Unfortunately after being accepted i decided to attend an Ivy anyway. oh well, the free app is great for the college trying to lower their accept ratio and great for kids trying to get a safety for free. dont listen to the rest of these people about picking a school. youll be happy almost anywhere, a free app however is a great way to gain peace of mind

By Topcat0214 (Topcat0214) on Thursday, May 08, 2003 - 10:39 pm: Edit

Carleton, Kenyon, Wooster, Rochester, and Hamilton have free online apps. Just remember...the app fee isn't the end of it. You have to send test scores and the CSS Profile for financial aid. It all adds up.

By Rowan (Rowan) on Friday, May 09, 2003 - 12:15 am: Edit

Thanks Nyguy. :)

Considering the other schools I'm applying to, Topcat, one less application fee is a ton of help. :)

Thanks to everyone who redirected me and gave me a few tips. It's greatly appreciated.

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