Applying to college should be free

Vincent Niewald News Editor

All around America, the time has come for college applications. This is the point where high school seniors know that they must apply for, and choose, what college they will be attending for, presumably the next four years of their life. This is a pivotal moment in the transition from adolescence to adulthood. And yet, this moment is needlessly complicated by unnecessary applications, processes and fees for colleges.

College applications should be standardized. Every college wants you to apply on their website in just a slightly different way, but they all want the exact same information. That, and the fact that colleges expect you to pay to be able to apply to their school. That is problematic because you are paying for the privilege of having a chance to be able to pay the college tuition. That makes no sense. 

According to, a platform made by scientists for scientists, “On average, at most 4-year, not-for-profit institutions, the college application fee is about $50. Among 62 4-year institutions with the highest application fees, the average is $77. A student’s total application costs can quickly add up because hardly anyone just submits one application. Since 2014, almost 36% of first-time college applicants sent applications to seven or more colleges (Clinedinst, 2019).”

Depending on the price of the application for a college, students from lower income families, or those who are unable to afford such expenses, will lose the chance to even apply to a given school, where they may have been accepted, and a this, combined with the fact that college applications are often very repetitive, and extremely similar to those from entirely different schools, makes the entire thing an unnecessary ordeal. The fact that every college generally wants the same information from applicants, and yet every college has their own unique form of application, just generally makes little to no sense. 

College applications should be free. This is the best way, and benefits students the most. Yes, colleges will lose out on some income from the applications themselves, but what is $45 when compared to tens of thousands of dollars in tuition costs that future students will be paying the school anyway. Not only that, but presumably a student will buy other things from the school, such as food, books, or even merchandise, that should more than make up for the cost missed out by making the application free. I also think that there should be a standardized application. Or at least, in all state schools. This would make it the easiest for those students, or other people who are applying to set schools, and it just generally makes the process more accessible to all people. Because, at the end of the day, college should be an accessible next step for all students who want it.