What Other Costs Should I Consider
Even if you only apply to Ivy League school, the application fee might not be the most expensive part of the college admissions process. How much you fork over depends on how much you want to invest in your college application.
SAT and ACT fees
Most colleges require students to submit SAT or ACT scores when they apply. Some states allow students to take these tests for free the first time. Otherwise you have to pay, unless you qualify for a fee waiver.
In fact, the cost of registering for the SAT can be more expensive than some college application fees. If you take it more than once to try to increase your scores, youll end up paying even more.
|ACT score report by phone||$15 per call, in addition to the cost of each rush order|
AP exam fees
- Regular AP exam: $94 per exam
- AP Capstone: $142 per exam
Taking AP courses strengthens your college application and helps you save on tuition by allowing you to earn credits for the fraction of the cost of an actual class. But it does increase the upfront cost of applying to college. Like with the SAT and ACT, low-income students might be able to qualify for a fee waiver.
Test prep courses
Test prep courses could be worth the investment if they can boost your score enough to get you into your dream school. But they can easily top $1,000 when you sign up.
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College essay tutoring
- Cost: $100 to $500 per hour
High school transcript fees
- Cost: Varies by school
Who Can Qualify For College Application Fee Waivers
Students need to meet economic need criteria to receive a college application fee waiver. The criteria may differ from college to college, but most of them will need proof that the applicant is a:
Colleges often accept SAT, ACT, or NACAC fee waivers as well. Some colleges might exempt you from paying the application fee if you are a U.S. military veteran. If you think you can be exempt from paying college application fees, you can request a fee waiver.
Myth : Being Well Rounded Is Critical For Success
One of the most pervasive myths out there about what looks good on a college application is the idea of being well rounded.
Many students assume they’ll need to have tons of extracurricular activities on their applications this, they believe, will emphasize their array of interests as well as their knowledge of a variety of fields. But all this really tells admissions committees is that you’re stretching yourself too thin and lack focus on a specific endeavor in your life.
What colleges actually want to see is a spike, that is, a single passion. This allows colleges to get a clearer feel for who you are, what you’re interested in, and what your goals are. Having a spike lets you stand out in a truly meaningful way, whereas being well rounded will make you forgettable and seem too similar to other applicants.
Spikes are especially important at highly selective colleges and universities, such as Harvard, Yale, and other Ivy League-level schools. You can read more about how to develop a spike in our guide to getting into the Ivy League. Alternatively, if you’re interested in pursuing education at a liberal arts school, check out our article on how to figure out what to go to college for.
If you aim for well rounded, you’ll start to look like everyone else.
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College Board Fee Waiver
If you qualify for a test fee waiver for the SAT or ACT, you can also qualify for an application fee waiver from The College Board. If youre eligible, you can use it to apply to thousands of colleges for free.
To request The College Board application fee waiver, contact your high school counselor for help. Your counselor may ask for additional information or documentation, such as your familys tax returns or pay stubs, because they are required to verify your eligibility for the program.
If you plan on applying to multiple colleges, you should know that you can use the waiver as many times as youd like.
Fees For Required Tests
Many colleges will require you to submit standardized test scores from either the SAT or ACT. You may opt to take the tests multiple times to improve your score, but youll pay the test fee each time you schedule one.
There are waivers available for SAT and ACT testing fees. Waivers are distributed by high school guidance counselors, based on need.
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Additional Choice Fee: $50/choice
- For each additional program choice beyond your first 3 .
- There is no fee for replacing a program choice with another program choice at the same university.
- If you amend your application to withdraw a program choice at 1 university and add a program choice at a different university, you will be charged $50 for the new program choice.
- You may apply to as many Ontario universities as you wish however, you are limited to a maximum of 3 program choices at any 1 university . Some universities may further limit the number of programs you can apply to.
Look For Schools That Dont Charge Fees
While many colleges and universities charge application fees, there are several that dont. You can save money by narrowing your search and only applying to schools that dont charge fees.
To get started, use The College Boards search tool to find colleges that either accept fee waivers or dont charge application fees.
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A Final Word On The Cost Of Applying To College
At a bare minimum, you’re going to pay at least $100 to take the SAT or ACT and apply to a local college or two. If you’re a high-achieving student applying to 10 highly selective colleges in a wide geographic area, you could easily be looking at $2,000 or more in costs for application fees, exam fees, and travel. It’s not unusual for students to spend more than $10,000 applying to schools because they hire a college consultant, fly to schools for visits, and take numerous standardized tests.
The application process, however, does not need to be prohibitively expensive. Both colleges and the SAT/ACT have fee waivers for low-income students, and things such as consultants and expensive travel are luxuries, not necessities.
How One Application Can Cost As Much As $4688
Factor in test prep, taking the SAT and ACT multiple times, rushing score reports and tutoring and you can end up with a nearly $5,000 bill for that first college application. Heres how it breaks down:
Want even more tutoring, AP exams and subject tests? Apply to more than one school? You might have to pay even more.
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Other Costs Associated With Applying To College
When you start applying for college, youll quickly learn that there are a lot of different costs to take into account. You dont want to overlook these costs so you dont accidentally go over budget.
One of the fees youll need to consider is the cost of having your high school transcript sent to colleges. Some schools will provide this service for free. Others, though, will only do so at a cost.
There might be a small fee for sending transcripts to out-of-state schools as well. If youre wondering how much it will cost to send transcripts to your colleges, talk to your district registrars office or your high school guidance counseling department.
Additionally, it will cost most to have your standardized test scores sent to schools. You receive four free score reports when you register for the SAT exam. However, additional reports cost $12 each.
You also might need to send additional materials to the schools you are applying to. For example, an art and design program might require work samples or portfolios. It will be up to you to both prepare and mail those items.
Depending on the type of materials and the number of items, this cost can vary considerably.
Scenario : You’re Using The Coalition Application
Like the Common Application, the Coalition Application streamlines the college fee waiver process to make it easier for you to get one each time you apply to a school.
To qualify for a fee waiver, you need to answer “yes” to at least one of the “Fee Waiver” questions, which are located in the “Profile” section of your MyCoalition account .
Here’s the page and questions you’ll see:
After you check off the boxes that apply to you, you will be shown a list of Coalition App schools that will waive their application fees based on the answer you selected. Here is what this list looks like, for example, when you check off “I am eligible for a Pell Grant” :
Once it’s been determined that you’re eligible for college application fee waivers, nothing more is required of you. Your counselor will receive your request for a fee waiver, and their approval will then be sent to the colleges you apply to through the Coalition App.
After your fee waiver request has been approved, you will just each time you apply to a college.
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Scenario : Apply To Eight Schools
You plan to apply to eight colleges. You want to take the SAT with the essay only once. Three of the colleges require the CSS Profile. Seven of the schools carry $50 application fees, but you also are applying to one school with a $75 fee. Heres how much you can expect to pay.
SAT test with essay = $64.50
Application fees = + $75
FAFSA = $0
CSS Profile for three schools = $25 + $16 + $16
Total = $546.50
What Are College Entrance Exams And Why Do I Need Them
College entrance exams are tests that score you on your comprehension of high school concepts. Most colleges require you earn a certain score on the SAT or ACT, but higher scores can benefit you in other ways like scholarships. Depending on the school, the SAT or ACT might be more important for your admission, so be sure to research which you should prioritize. Talk to your school counselor to see if you qualify for fee waivers allowing you to take exams for free or at a discount.
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How To Apply To An Ontario College
The first step in applying to college is to research the programs and colleges available to you. If you have not already decided what programs you are applying to, you can:
- See our College Map to find a campus near you
- Browse our Find a Program tool to see all college programs offered in Ontario
- Visit college websites for more details about their programs and admission requirements
- Attend a college recruitment event to meet college representatives
The next step is to create an account with ontariocolleges.ca and begin your college application.
Ready to start your application?
to your account to complete your application, make changes or confirm offers of admission.
What Looks Good On A College Application 7 Key Elements
In addition to key personality traits, such as ambition, passion, genuine interest, and academic curiosity, what looks really good on a college application?
In general, a great application will have most or all of the following elements:
- A high GPA and a rigorous curriculum
- Strong test scores
- A specific, honest, and well-written personal statement
- A unique extracurricular interest or passion
- Volunteering experience with measurable impact
- Compelling letters of recommendation written on your behalf
- Work experience, particularly jobs related to your academic or professional interests
It’s OK if you don’t have every single quality listed above, but if you do, your chances of getting accepted to the college of your dreams will go way up!
Now then, let’s take a look at each of these qualities in more detail.
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College Application Fee Waiver Information
With college application fees averaging $35 to $50 or more, applying to several colleges can be expensive for any student. It may actually be prohibitive for some families, especially those on the lower end of the economic scale. However, students of families experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for waivers of their college application fees.
Both the College Board and National Association for College Admission Counseling provide waiver request forms that can be completed by eligible students and are accepted by many colleges.The State University of New York and the City University of New York require use of their own waiver request forms.Let your students and their parents know that they may be eligible for application fee waivers through these opportunities:
Your Gpa And Sat Dont Tell The Full Admissions Story
Our chancing engine factors in extracurricular activities, demographics, and other holistic details. Well let you know what your chances are at your dream schools and how to improve your chances!
Your GPA and SAT dont tell the full admissions story
Our chancing engine factors in extracurricular activities, demographic, and other holistic details.
Your GPA and SAT dont tell the full admissions story
Our chancing engine factors in extracurricular activities, demographic, and other holistic details. Well let you know what your chances are at your dream schools and how to improve your chances!
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Write The Common App Essays
Now it comes time to actually fill out your college applications. When you submit the Common App, you will need to use the essays to showcase who you are and why you stand out from other applicants.
The Common App essay is one of a portfolio of essays that you will send to colleges, but it is arguably the most important. This essay will be seen by every college you apply to using the platform. Good essays are deeply personal and show how you think, solve problems, make decisions, and what youre passionate about.
These essays can take anywhere from 20-30 hours as you need to carefully choose a prompt, brainstorm ideas, organize your thoughts, draft, edit, re-draft, edit again, and so on. You also need to make sure you proofread before you submit for any grammar mistakes and have someone else who knows you proofread as well.
To learn more about the Common Application Essays, the Coalition Application Essays , and receive strategic tips on how to tackle this years prompts, check out:
Takeaways: What Looks Good On A College Application
Applying to college is tough, and knowing what to put on your applications to make yourself stand out is even tougher. What looks really good on a college application?
Generally speaking, colleges want to see your passion, intellectual curiosity, willingness to challenge yourself, and academic accomplishments.
More specifically, though, colleges typically prefer applicants who have most or all of the following characteristics:
- Good grades and a challenging course load
- Strong test scores
- Honest, specific, and eloquent essays
- A spike in your extracurricular activities
- Compelling letters of recommendation
- Volunteer experience with clear impact on the groups or places you’ve helped
- Any relevant or impactful work experience
Finally, as you apply to college and try to think of good things to put on a college application, make sure you’re aware of the following truths about the application process:
- It’s better to have a spike than to be well rounded
- Essays are important!
- A B in a hard course is more impressive than an A in an easy course
- You can still get into your dream school even if your application isn’t perfect
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How Do Fee Waivers Work
Not all colleges accept application fee waivers, but there are thousands that do.
Schools often have their own rules about how application fee waivers are handled. Before applying, contact the colleges admissions office to see what information or forms they need.
In general, youll fill out the application and check a box that indicates youll be paying with a fee waiver. You usually have to mail or email the fee waiver to the admissions department afterward.
How To Use Other Fee Waiver Forms
If you’re using an NACAC or ACT, Inc. form for non-Common App and non-Coalition App schools, you won’t get a personalized code. In most cases, you’ll be asked to upload a scanned copy of the signed form to your application. Again, if you’re applying by mail or the school wants an original hard copy, you should mail this form.
If the school needs any more information, it will contact you and let you know. To prepare for this possibility, you should give them a call and ask about the process. A few colleges, like many in the California State system, only accept requests from in-state residents.
There are more than 2,000 colleges that approve fee waiver requestsyou just have to figure out how your prospective colleges want you to submit your request.
Everyone’s path to college is different. Similarly, there are several different options for requesting application fee waivers, some straightforward and others a little more complicated. To make sure you’ve got your bases covered, let’s summarize the most important things to remember for students who want to waive the fees for applying to college.
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