U.S. Colleges can be distinguished by many factors, such as private and state, religious and non-denominational or the predominant disciplines in which they specialise to name but a few. They can also be divided into those that charge a fee for application and those that don’t.
So, why do some colleges set an application fee? The reason for charging is generally believed to be as follows – the College Board recommends that students apply for 5 to 8 colleges, thus, the financial costs to colleges who receive high numbers of applications can be very high, with staff needed to evaluate applications and the materials that applicants are supplied with. It also acts as a filter to those whose interest in a chosen college is nothing more than casual. According to U.S News & World Report 2012, the average application fee for charging colleges was $37.64. Stanford, Duke and Boston University are amongst the most expensive institutions where application fees are concerned.
The simple act of applying to college is expensive and can be prohibitive to those wanting to make numerous applications. However, what many applicants do not know is that there are many good free application colleges around.
The following list is for the best college types with free applications, along with their ranking according to Forbes Magazine:
- Carleton College – ranked #16
- Colby College – ranked #39
- Kenyon College – ranked #42
- Reed College – ranked #46
- Union College – ranked #57
- Earlham College – ranked #92
- Rhodes College – ranked #93
- Sewanee University of the South – ranked #98
- St. Olaf College – ranked #109
- Lewis & Clark College – ranked #115
Some of the above colleges used to have a fee which they dropped because they found that they were granting waivers to more applicants than were paying. As a result, they raised very little money. Many also felt that dropping the charge altogether presented less of an obstacle to potential students. Others have a policy of charging students who opt to apply on paper, while making it free for online applications. Many seem to feel that a lack of an application fee supports their ethos of making education available to all. There are no reports of poorer application services for colleges offering free applications, and the rankings suggest that many are at the top of their game.
The benefits for potential students are numerous. Not only can an applicant save money utilising the free college applications policies of some great schools, they also get the opportunity to apply to many more colleges, which allows them fall back options. It could also serve as a useful tool for applicants allowing them to gain confidence by receiving offers, and showing them that they possess the qualities which make them college material.
With colleges that rank as highly as some of those listed above, there is no reason not to take advantage of the opportunity to cast your net wide in your search for a college place. Take advantage of these free application colleges and give yourself a better chance of a place of an offer.
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