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! 

save time and money applying for college

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:

These Alabama schools accept the Common App:  

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:

These Alabama colleges and universities are free to apply to: 

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! 

 **Updated 11/14/22**

As an editor, copywriter, and social media manager at exploreMedia, I work to develop content that is relevant and interesting to our readers and coordinate with contributing writers.

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