Free College Applications








Frequently Asked Questions

Do people really save that much money applying on-line?

Let's say for example that an ambitious student wants to apply to Smith, Barnard, Vassar, Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Macalester, Oberlin, and Scripps. If she were to apply to each of these schools for fall 2006 using paper applications, it would cost her a family a grand total of $395 (USD). (Source:, August 14th, 2005.) However, if she were to apply using the free applications for Smith, Mount Holyoke, and Wellesley, she would end up paying $230 — a savings of $165. There is a lot if money to be saved by using free on-line applications whenever possible.

Most schools that offer free or reduced applications must be really low-ranked, right?
Absolutely not! Some notable schools on this list include Wellesley, Carleton, Smith, Colby, Mount Holyoke, American, Grinnell, Colgate, and Hamilton, all top-ranked institutions. Other notable colleges provide reduced or waived fees outside of their websites as well. This list is constantly growing, meaning top schools are being added regularly.
Aside from the cost, are there any advantages to applying on-line?
There are lots of advantages to applying on-line. First, there's an obvious one — no messy handwriting! Aside from that, colleges like it when people apply on-line because it keeps everything nicely organized and uniform. If you are applying to schools that use the Common Application, you can apply to several at once in one easy step, saving yourself a lot of postage, aggravation, and — in many cases — fees at the same time. If you need to make corrections, all you need to do is hit the "backspace" button.
Do colleges prefer it when students apply on-line?
Many do – some even state this preference in their admissions materials – which is why they offer free on-line applications. You will not, however, receive preferential treatment by applying on-line — your application will be treated the same as those from applicants who used paper.
How do you submit your essay and supplemental materials on-line?
You will normally be given a large text area into which you can paste your essay, or a way to submit an attachment. Supplements like "brag sheets," cocurricular resumés, and other special documents and pictures can also often be sent as attachments. In some cases, you may be asked to submit your supplemental material by postal mail. Check with individual colleges for their specific policies.
Will my teachers and guidance counselor need to submit their references or my transcript on-line?
A small number of colleges request recommendations on-line, but transcripts are always submitted via mail. Again, always check for individual policies and procedures.
How do I find on-line applications?
Visit the website of each school you are interested in. On the main page, there should be a link reading "Admissions," "Prospective Students," or something similar. Click on that to be taken to the admissions department's website. You will find information on how to apply via paper and electronic applications there. I don't link to the applications because they are often in secure areas of websites that cannot easily be linked to, or their addresses change frequently enough for it to be a bit of a pain when it comes to making updates to this site.
Are you encouraging people to pick which schools they're going to apply to based on which ones have free applications?
Students should never make their decisions based on which applications are free. However, a lot of people are completely unaware that the schools they've picked have free applications, and they end up spending money they don't need to. Pick schools based on whether or not they're good fits for you, and use free applications for those schools whenever you can.
Can I submit more schools to add? Is there a way I can let you know how to correct something?
Additions and corrections are always welcome! Please e-mail me with any additions or corrections.