How to Save Time (and Money) Applying for College!
The college application process can be overwhelming, time consuming and expensive! Here’s what you need to make the process a little easier, and maybe save money too!
Applying to college can be time-consuming and expensive! Here’s what you need to know to make the process easier and more affordable.
Use the Common Application
The Common Application (also referred to as the Common App) is a single college application form that’s accepted by over 1,000 public and private colleges and universities. It allows you to apply to up to 20 schools at once using one application, which can save you lots of time.
It can also save you quite a bit of money– the Common App is free to use, and nearly half of all Common App colleges do not charge separate application fees for first-year college students. You may qualify for a Common App fee waiver when applying to colleges that do charge application processing fees.
Here are a few popular U.S. colleges and universities that accept the Common App:
- University of Texas at Austin
- New York University
- University of Southern California
- University of Florida
- Boston University
These Alabama schools accept the Common App:
- Auburn University
- Birmingham-Southern College
- Samford University
- Spring Hill College
- University of Alabama
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- University of South Alabama
- United States Sports Academy
- Tuskegee University
Use the HBCU Common Application
Are you interested in attending an HBCU (Historically Black College/University)? Apply to any of the 60+ member institutions at once for only $20 using the Common Black College Application, including Alabama State University, Alabama A&M University, Stillman College, and Miles College.
Get Application Fee Waivers
Students with financial need may qualify for application fee waivers through NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling). You may also qualify for college application fee waivers if you received ACT fee waivers or SAT fee waivers. You can even ask schools directly for application fee waivers based on your financial need.
Not all waivers are based on income, though. There are several schools that will waive your application fee (or give you a discounted fee) if you apply online. Some schools will waive their application fees when you visit campus for a tour or speak with a recruiter at a college fair. Make sure you look into an application fee waiver in these situations- it never hurts to ask!
Apply to Colleges With No Application Fees
Not all schools have application fees! In fact, there are great colleges all over the country that are free to apply to year-round no matter your financial situation.
Here are a few popular colleges and universities with no application fees:
- Grand Canyon University
- Saint Louis University
- Arkansas Tech University
- Tulane University
- Loyola University Chicago
- Wellesley College
These Alabama colleges and universities are free to apply to:
- Spring Hill College
- University of North Alabama
- Birmingham-Southern College (before Nov. 15 with the Common App, always with regular online application)
- Huntingdon College
- Auburn University at Montgomery
- Columbia Southern University
- Alabama Community Colleges
Don’t Go Overboard
Every student should apply to at least a few different schools (we recommend four or five), but there’s usually no need to send in applications to more than ten. Not only is it time consuming, but with application fees ranging from $30-90, the cost starts adding up before you even set foot on campus!