For many people, especially those looking at returning to school after many years, the college application can be an especially daunting prospect. It is in many people’s best interests to apply to a wide range of colleges, to ensure that they are accepted to a school that fits their needs. Unfortunately, in addition to the application process often being tedious and exhausting, there is often a fee associated with it. While this fee is usually fairly small, ranging from $15 US Dollars (USD) to $25 USD in most cases, the fee may be upwards of $50 USD in some cases, and over many applications this can add up quickly.
If there are many different colleges you’re looking at, or if you simply want to apply to ten or more schools to make sure you get in somewhere appropriate, you may be looking for schools that offer a free college application. More and more schools are offering a free college application, taking into consideration the fact that students are not always able to afford the application fee. A number of schools charge a processing fee for applications submitted in the usual fashion, but offer a free college application for online admissions, as this saves on paperwork for them.
Many schools offer a free college application if certain criteria are reached. For example, some colleges waive their application fee if you apply during certain times of the year, others if you visit the campus, others if you have a sibling or relative who attended the college, and others if you are an international student. And even colleges that don’t offer a free college application usually have a system by which the fee can be waived, often simply by calling and making a request that it be waived, or in some cases by submitting documentation that you can’t afford to pay the fee.
Some examples of schools that have a free college application are: Indiana Wesleyan University, Julliard School, Blue Mountain College, Oregon Institute of Technology, Tulsa University, Tulane University, Wheaton College, Nyack College, Lyon College, Grace College, and Grace College. The dates during which applications are free vary from school to school, and may change from year to year, but each college has a website that lists free application dates.
Examples of schools that offer a free college application if you apply online are: Willamette College, Tulane University, Monmouth College, Hanover College, Hampshire College, Roanoake College, Green Mountain College, Arcadia University, Brandeis University, Whittier College, Polytechnic University, Notre Dame College, and Lewis & Clark College. There are literally hundreds of colleges that offer free applications online, however, and an exhaustive list would take pages.
In spite of the move towards a free college application process, many colleges choose to retain fees. They defend the practice by pointing out that it forces students to choose which colleges they wish to apply to most, limiting the number of applicants in the pool, and allowing colleges to make clearer admission decisions, as it is more likely a higher percentage of applicants will attend if accepted. These people usually point out that even at colleges with an application fee, there is a waiver process for those who can’t afford to apply, often handled directly by the college, or through a body like the National Association for College Admission Counseling.