While most of us know just how expensive college has become, it is not until we are embroiled in the long and tedious application and admissions process that many of us begin to realize just how expensive simply applying to college can be.

Aside from the cost of sending SAT and/or ACT scores to each college you apply to, there is typically a fee, ranging in price from $25 to more than $100, for each college you submit an application to. Holy cow! You can go broke even before you are accepted!

There is, of course, some relief, aside from the occasional fee waiver which may be offered to select students. In fact, there are hundreds of colleges that offer free (yes, we said FREE) applications, and others that offer reduced fees for special circumstances (i.e., legacies, siblings). Why, some colleges even offer free applications to students who simply visit the campus (well worth the trip from anywhere :-), and many will waive the fee, if only you are bold enough to ask.

Our friends at porcelina.net have compiled a rather extensive (though not necessarily exhaustive or all-inclusive) list of colleges that offer free or reduced fee applications. Here are the links:

Free On-line Applications (General)

Free for Legacies and Siblings

Free or Reduced for International Applicants

Free During Certain Time Periods

Free If Student Visits Campus

Free If Submitted During Campus Visit

Free with Alumna/us Recommendation

Free in Special Cases

Reduced Fee On-line

Of course, you should visit the college websites for specifics, and confirm the manner in which your application is to be submitted (online, paper, college-specific application, Common App, by a date certain) in order to avail yourself of the free or reduced fee offer.

Also, watch your mail and email, as colleges that ordinarily charge a fee to submit applications routinely solicit students who fit their profiles (thank you, College Board, for selling our names, scores and personal info) to submit a "priority" application, fee waived. [Hey, if it's free and they want you to apply, go for it!]

With costs of getting into -- let alone going to -- college mounting, students, and their soon to be broke parents, should look to save any way and everywhere they can. Nipping the college application fee in the bud is a great place to start!

Plan. Prepare. Prevail!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.

Who knows what peril lurks in the college application and admissions process? The College Whisperer knows. . . 

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