Paying application fees is usually tedious for students since most of these fees are non-refundable. Most times, students apply for admission into 4-5 colleges, and paying the application fee for each of the colleges applied to can get a bit unreasonable. We are aware of the plight faced by many students in America, and this is exactly why we highlighted some top colleges with no application fee.
Continue reading to learn about some of the best institutions in the United States that do not need an application fee.
How Much Does It Cost To Apply To College?
According to US News research, the average cost of a college application fee is around $43-$50. In the most recent survey, Stanford University application costs topped $90, with at least 50 Ivy League institutions asking $75 for each application.
What it all comes down to is that you might be spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on your applications before you ever get in!
Colleges Waiving Application Fees
In this post, we looked at some of the top colleges with no application fee. However, in some instances, some colleges waive application fees. Application fee exemptions are often granted to students who can demonstrate financial need. However, some colleges will waive the application fee for any student who meets specific criteria, such as making an official on-campus visit.
The specific conditions to qualify for a fee waiver based on financial need will vary depending on the waiver mechanism used by the student. Some schools, for example, have their own fee relief application process. On the other hand, students can anticipate a fee remission if they get government help as a result of their participation in low-income family programs.
How To Get Application Fee Waiver
As mentioned above, students with financial needs can get an application fee exemption. There are also other various ways for students to get college application cost exemptions.
1. The College Board’s SAT fee waiver
Students who qualify for the College Board’s SAT fee waiver will also be eligible for four college application cost exemptions. Students who are enrolled in the National School Lunch Program, have a family income that falls within the Income Eligibility Guidelines, are enrolled in a government program for low-income students, are a member of a family that receives public assistance, are also eligible for a fee waiver.
2. Submit an online application
If you apply online, many colleges will waive the application fee. For instance, colleges like the College of Southern Idaho, Wesleyan College; University of Hartford; Manchester University; Washington and Jefferson College, etc., waive application fees when students apply online.
3. Request application fee waiver from school based on financial necessity.
This has already been discussed above. Most colleges that charge application fees will allow students to seek fee waivers. Each school’s procedure will be different, but it usually requires filling out a separate form explaining the student’s financial position.
4. Legacy applicants
A few colleges will waive both tuition and application fees for students whose parents or grandparents attended and graduated from a specific school. For instance, Western New England University has such policies for legacy applicants.
5. Visit the school
Like the University of Pittsburgh, many colleges will eliminate application fees if you visit the campus. This waiver does not need applicants to demonstrate financial need. The particular procedure will be determined by the school. For example, the University of Pittsburgh application cost waiver requires a campus visit between June 15 and August 31. Other institutions may not publicize this sort of fee waiver, so you may need to contact the admissions office directly and inquire for further information.
6. Have an ACT Cost Waiver
If you are qualified for a cost waiver for the ACT, you may also be eligible for a fee waiver or deferral for the college admission application fee. The ACT exam fee waiver criteria are quite similar to the SAT test fee waiver requirements.
7. Register As An International Student.
Some colleges will waive the application cost if you apply as an international student. Ithaca Institution is one example of a college that offers waived application fees for international students.
8. Fee waiver from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)
Students can use the NACAC to apply to up to four institutions without paying an application fee. If a student meets the SAT or ACT testing cost waiver conditions, they will be eligible for a NACAC college application fee waiver. While the vast majority of schools and universities will accept a NACAC college application cost waiver, not all will.
Top Colleges With No Application Fee in The US
Below are some of the top colleges with no application fee in the US.
1. The United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy, located in West Point, New York, is a public research institution. It is a university that has over 1,210 bachelor’s degree students enrolled. With a 9 percent acceptance rate, the entry criteria are relatively competitive. The United States Military Academy is one of the top colleges in the US that doesn’t require an application fee.
2. Wellesley College
Another Colleges With No Application Fee is Wellesley College. Wellesley College is a private, non-profit institution in Wellesley, Massachusetts. It is a university that has over 605 bachelor’s degree students enrolled. The entry conditions are quite competitive, with a 22 percent acceptance rate. Wellesley College’s tuition ranges from $58,448 to $69,034.
3. Colby College
Colby College is a private, non-profit college in Waterville, Maine. It is a college that has over 552 bachelor’s degree students enrolled. With a 15% acceptance rate, the entry criteria are highly competitive. Admission into Colby college doesn’t require an application fee.
4. Smith College
Smith College is a private, non-profit college in Northampton, Massachusetts. It is a university that has over 639 bachelor’s degree students enrolled. The admission conditions are relatively competitive, with a 31% acceptance rate. Just like other colleges highlighted above, students can apply for admission into this prestigious institution without being charged an application fee.
5. Grinnell College
Grinnell College is fifth on our list of colleges with no application fee in America. Grinnell college is situated in Iowa and has over 447 bachelor’s degree students enrolled. The admission conditions are rather competitive, with a 28 percent acceptance rate.
6. Kenyon College
Kenyon College is a private, non-profit college in Gambier, Ohio. It is a university with 453 bachelor’s degree students enrolled. With a 33% acceptance rate, the entry criteria are fairly competitive. Even though entry criteria into this institution are a bit competitive, applicants are assured that they won’t have to deal with the cost of application fees when seeking admission into Kenyon college.
7. Tulane University of Louisiana
The Tulane University of Louisiana is a non-profit private university in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is a university that has over 1,905 bachelor’s degree students enrolled. The admission conditions are highly competitive, with a 21% acceptance rate.
8. Reed College
Reed College is a private, non-profit college in Portland, Oregon. It is a university that has over 413 bachelor’s degree students enrolled. With a 35% acceptance rate, the entry criteria are fairly competitive.
9. Michigan Technological University
Michigan Technological university is a public university in Houghton, Michigan. It is a university that has over 1,323 bachelor’s degree students enrolled. The entry criteria are relatively undemanding, with a 74% acceptance rate.
10. St. Olaf College
St. Olaf College is a private, not-for-profit college in Northfield, Minnesota. It is a university with 786 bachelor’s degree applicants. St. Olaf College is another college with no application fee with also less stringent admission requirements.
How To Apply To Colleges
As the end of your junior year of high school approaches, you should have a complete list of institutions you wish to apply to. The number of schools to which you’ll wish to apply is determined by your circumstances.
It’s always a good idea to have a backup school, but if you’re convinced that you have the necessary grades and test scores for your desired institution, you may only need to apply to one. If you’re exclusively applying to highly competitive academic institutions, you might wish to submit 8-10 applications
Make sure you have all of the essential application paperwork when you prepare to apply to these institutions in the fall of your senior year. Every school requires a copy of your high school transcripts, which may be obtained through your high school’s records office. Here are a few more things to think about when you apply:
1. Test Results
A college admission examination is required by many institutions, while several schools have lately abandoned this requirement. The ACT and SAT are the two most prominent college entrance exams, and they both aim to assess what you studied in high school. While they are similar, there are several key differences. Almost every institution that requires test scores will accept results from either the ACT or the SAT, so it’s up to you to choose — you may also take both.
2. Recommendation Letters
Grades and exam scores inform a college about what you’ve learned, but they don’t speak to your unique experiences. To counter this, many institutions request letters of recommendation from students’ teachers, which give a full picture of the student. These letters provide the college with a deeper understanding of your personality.
Most colleges want 1-2 letters of recommendation from your high school teachers with whom you worked on an academic topic in 11th or 12th grade. It is ideal to get letters of reference from instructors near the conclusion of 11th grade since this enables them to gather their thoughts over the summer.
Most institutions will want to hear from you in addition to letters of reference. They want to know about your opinions, interests, seminal experiences, viewpoints, difficulties, and goals.
When preparing your essay, keep in mind what colleges want to know about you, and collaborate with an adult who can provide criticism and recommendations on your writing. This will take some time, but it will be well worth it. Don’t forget to have someone else edit your essay before submitting it!
When To Apply For College
According to most admissions experts, a student should begin the application process at the start of their senior year of high school. While universities may have varying deadlines, most applications for normal autumn admission must be submitted by January.
How Many Colleges Can You Apply To?
A balanced list is recommended to boost your chances of admission to an elite school. A well-balanced list comprises at least three reach schools, two matches, and one safety school. They should all be colleges that you would like to attend.
Do All Colleges Require An Essay?
As part of the application process, most US schools and universities require applicants to write a brief essay on themselves or a specified topic. These essays may be written in response to a specific prompt, such as “Who has been the most influential person in your life?” or “What event has most shaped the person you are today?” However, most applications provide open-ended prompts that allow applicants to choose the topic they want to write about.
Admission essays not only give insight into your writing abilities, but they also assist admissions committees to get a feel of who you are as a person, something test results and GPA scores do not. The essay allows you to express yourself clearly about your aspirations and can provide admissions personnel with a clearer understanding of how well you would fit in at the institution.
Colleges That Don’t Require essay
If the idea of writing a college essay makes you cringe, you may be wondering if there are any universities that do not need essays.
There are, in fact, a number of them! most of these colleges fall under these categories:
1. Public Universities in Your State
A large majority of public institutions do not demand essays as part of the admissions process. Even if your state’s big public universities (such as the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign or UCLA) demand essays for admission, smaller campuses and smaller or more specialized state institutions (such as Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago State University, and so on) may not.
2. Small Private Liberal Arts Institutions
Smaller, private liberal arts colleges are another group of schools that may not require essays. These institutions frequently serve a somewhat narrow market and may just not get a large enough application volume to necessitate essays to separate applicants.
3. Community Colleges
Local community colleges do not demand essays for enrollment since most accept students from all walks of life. Some even have automatic transfer arrangements with four-year colleges in the area. However, suppose you wish to transfer to a certain four-year university after finishing at a community college. In that case, you may be required to submit an essay—so you may simply be delaying the inevitable!
Final Thought On Colleges With No Application Fee
In this post, we highlighted 10 colleges with no application fee. We also went further to look at ways you can apply for an application fee waiver. This information will be needed by most international students who are still grappling with the high cost of visa applications, airfare, and so on.
We hope the information provided in this post will make your admission journey a lot easier. Best Wishes!