How to Beat the Cost of Applying to College

Barry Lenson

How to Beat the Cost of Applying to College

Going to college can cost you a fortune. But when you stop to think about it, applying to college has become a very expensive process too. Here’s how costs can add up . . .

  • You pay big bucks for ACT and SAT test preparation – An SAT preparation class costs about $700. But if you opt for ACT or SAT private tutoring, get ready to pay $2,000, $3,000 or more.
  • You add more big bucks to take the standardized tests themselves – It costs $41.50 to take the SAT (plus $21 if you register late). The ACT test costs $29.00, plus another $14.00 for the optional writing test (plus $19.00 if you register late). And bear in mind, it is not unusual today for kids to take the SAT two or even three times, then report their highest grades to colleges. The total typical expense? If you take the SAT twice and the ACT/writing test once, that will cost you $126. (You didn’t register late, did you? That will cost you even more.)
  • You spend still more money for college applications – Colleges typically charge between $40 and $80 per application.  Sounds reasonable, until you realize that many kids today apply to 10, or even 20 colleges. That’s why just the cost of applying is costing some families $1,000, $1,500 or more.
  • You pay money to travel for college visits – Granted, you can get admitted to some colleges without ever setting foot on campus. But the fact is, students who visit campuses, and who register their visits with the admissions offices, have a big statistical advantage in getting in. Total expense? It depends on how many colleges you visit, and where they are located. But many families are racking up expenses of $2,000, $3,000 or more.
  • Maybe you hire an expensive college counselor – Not every applicant hires a private college counselor. But many families do – especially if their children attend high schools where guidance counselors are overtaxed. Typical costs are in the range of $250 - $300 per hour of counseling. At that rate, the dollars add up fast.

All this puts wealthier students at a big advantage. Yet even if you are not wealthy, you have an advantage too. StraighterLine offers a way to open the virtual classroom doors without emptying your pockets first.
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