A Look at How Much it Costs to Apply to College

There are a lot of costs to apply to college

Flickr user The.Comedian

When calculating the cost of college, what most students and their parents forget to take into consideration is how much it costs to apply to college. This could be a mistake if you are on a tight budget and have to account for every dollar spent. The fact is you could end up spending upwards of $1000 even before you receive the first acceptance letter. We break down how much it costs to apply to college below.

Application Fees

Almost all colleges charge an application fee. The only difference lies in the amount they charge. The average application fee is about $55. While less established colleges charge at the lower end of $30, established colleges charge at the upper end of the average. If you are applying to Yale for example, you have to pay $80 as the application fee. If you’re applying to multiple colleges, those application fees add up to a large total.

This means if you are applying to the recommended of 10 colleges, you will end up paying $300 to $800 on fees alone. And that’s before you even get accepted into the college.

(You can check out how much a certain school charges for their app fee right here on College Raptor, by visiting their college page).

Standardized Test Fees

Add this to the cost of standardized tests that some schools require and that cost goes up considerably. These tests cost in the range of $46 (for the SAT) to $93 for each AP exam. Depending on which college you are applying to, you may need to take at least 4 AP tests, which means spending almost $400 just for this test. It may also cost money to send your scores to colleges, on top of paying to take those standardized tests. Yes, some organizations offer to send the first x amount of scores for free, but you pay for the rest. You may be able to get these fees waived, but you’ll have to ask your high school counselor or look online to see what waiver requirements there are. However, if you can’t get the costs waived, it’s a a good amount of money spent on tests.

No origination fees or prepayment penalties

Fixed rates from 3.85% - 7.91% APR with auto-debit

Learn More

College Visits

Then there are the costs involved for college visits. How much you spend will depend on how far your selected colleges are from home, what kind of visit you signed up for, and the school itself. If you have multiple people coming with you to college visits, that’s extra expenses. You may end up spending money on flight tickets and gas. If there are people coming with you, that also means spending money on food and hotel rooms. Those costs can also add up quickly, especially if you’re visiting multiple colleges.

Calculating all of these costs is important so that you an budget accordingly. If the price tag of applying to college is starting to worry you, don’t panic just yet. There are ways to waive the fees or otherwise receive financial aid to cover the costs.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!


Lender Rates (APR) Eligibility
Sallie Mae logo.
5.99% - 16.33% Variable
4.50% - 14.83% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Credibe company logo.
4.99% - 16.20% Variable
3.65% - 15.91% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Lendkey company logo.
5.80% - 10.80% Variable
4.89% - 10.90% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Ascent company logo.
5.98% - 15.63% Variable
4.48% - 15.27% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
5.59% - 10.13% Variable
3.85% - 7.91% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
Earnest company logo.
5.32% - 16.20% Variable
4.43% - 14.90% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
4.73% - 12.54% Variable
4.48% - 12.29% Fixed
Undergraduate and Graduate
College Raptor is not a loan lender and does not assume responsibility for suggesting a loan to a user who may not be eligible for it. Rates, terms, conditions, eligibility, approval, and other considerations are the decisions of the lenders and may vary depending on which lender or marketplace the user selects. We urge users to carefully consider and review all loan options and terms before committing to taking out a loan.