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How Do I Get a Free College Application?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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There are several different ways to get a free college application. One way is to research schools and apply to those that provide free applications to all students, to those who apply online, or to those who apply early. You may also choose to apply for a college fee waiver or contact the college to ask for a personal exception to the application fee requirements. Some colleges also may waive fees if you have a close family member who attended the school before you. Additionally, some offer free applications to individuals who attend open houses and take tours.

One way to get a free college application is to research schools before you apply. There are many schools that offer free applications, though the reason for this concession may vary. Some schools offer free applications for everyone while others make this concession only for people who apply online. Many colleges waive application fees for individuals who apply by a certain date as well. Additionally, you may be permitted to apply for free if you sign a contract stating that you will definitely attend the school in question if you are accepted.

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You might also get a free college application if you apply for a waiver. There are many college application waiver programs that waive application fees for low-income students. Usually, there are guidelines set for what constitutes a low enough income to qualify, however. In many places, you will qualify if your income is at or below poverty level. Your eligibility for certain government programs may qualify you as well.

If you cannot obtain a waiver through an organization that grants them, you can also contact the college to which you are applying for help and explain your financial situation in the hopes of having your application fee waived. While this may not count as standard procedure, you might find a college representative willing to make an exception for you. This may hold particularly true if you can prove dire circumstances. Additionally, some schools might agree to waive fees for exceptional students.

Sometimes waivers are granted to individuals based on a legacy of family members who have studied at the college in question. For example, if one of your parents or siblings attended the school to which you want to apply, you might be able to apply for a waiver based on this history. Often, colleges refer to these waivers as "legacy waivers."

Schools will sometimes offer a student a free college application if the student attends a specific event. For example, some colleges may provide free applications to students who attend an open house. Others might provide free applications to students who visit a college and take a tour.

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