Applying to college costs too much

From AP and SAT tests to application fees, applying to college involves a hefty amount of money, usually paid out of pocket. However, these steep costs can discourage students from applying to certain schools.

Before application fees are even considered, students must pay to take AP exams, SAT subject tests, and SAT and ACT tests. Most colleges require SAT or ACT test scores in their applications, so taking these tests is a must.

Just paying for standardized testing can add up quickly. At Poolesville, each AP exam costs $93. SAT subject tests are $26 per test, with language with listening tests costing slightly more.

SAT tests cost $47.50 ($64.50 with the optional essay) and ACT tests cost $50.50 ($67.00 with the optional essay) for each time a student takes it, and include 4 free score sends to colleges. However, students can be hesitant to use these sends, as the colleges they wish to send their scores to must be specified before students even see the scores. Also, most students take the tests in their junior year, and might not be sure about where they are applying to college. This hesitance costs money: after test scores come out, each score send costs an extra $12.

Application fees add a whole new round of costs to the college application process. Fees are usually around $40 to $80, depending on the size of the applicant pool and the college’s admissions process. Top colleges like Stanford University, Columbia University, and Duke University charge between $85 and $90.

These steep costs intimidated me when I started the college application process. Even now, after applying to three colleges, I am still mourning the loss of $210 from my bank account. I paid the fees without really knowing where my money was going. Only through doing a little digging did I find out.

Application fees are used to cover the cost of the admissions process. They use the money to pay for the administrative aspect of processing thousands of applications, as well as the admissions committee staff.

In a poll run on Instagram, I found that out of 58 responses, 50 people did not know what college application fees were used for.

The costs of applying to college may be daunting to some students, and can discourage them from applying to certain schools or taking exams.

“I definitely looked at college app costs when I was choosing colleges,” says Global senior Sruthi Ganesh.

Ganesh states that she refrained from applying to very many schools with application fees higher than $75.

“SATs and AP tests cost so much already, so adding application fees on top of that, you end up spending $1000 on just applying,” says Ganesh.

Those who are intimidated by cost shouldn’t lose hope. Applicants who demonstrate financial need can try to obtain fee waivers from various sources, including the College Board and the college’s financial aid office. These waivers can cover the cost of SAT and ACT tests, as well as some application fees.