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Colleges With No Application Fee: Explore Your Options

Are you tired of paying for applications? There are some colleges with no application fee. Check the list of institutions that don’t charge application fees and review their admission conditions.
Colleges With No Application Fee: The Ultimate Selection

Have you ever wondered why so many US colleges take application fees? These charges are a little annoying and weird, aren’t they? It seems unfair to pay an extra $30-80 just to submit documents to the admissions committee. Luckily, there are more options than you think. Guess what? Some institutions in the US do not charge application fees. Learn about such colleges and their application processes in this blog.

FAQ: Everything You Should Know About College Application Fees

You may face an application fee when applying to a university or college. What is it, and why is it necessary? Is it required everywhere? Let’s figure it out together.

What Do College Application Fees Include?

An application fee is the sum a college charges for accepting your documents. What is it for? Well, it’s pretty simple. This amount covers the cost of processing application requests. Basically, you pay for the time they spend to review your candidature. In the United States, educational institutions may determine fee amounts by themselves. Therefore, the charge can vary significantly across the country. 

What Is the Average College Application Fee?

The size of an application fee depends on many factors. As a rule, those who apply for a bachelor’s degree program and are domestic applicants pay less, while private colleges charge a higher tax. Thus, the average fee for US undergraduate applicants is about $56. Yet, some institutions may take more depending on the inner policies. For instance, Boston College charges $80 just to accept your application. Meanwhile, the University of Florida’s service cost is only 30 dollars. 

Source: BestCollege

Why Do Some Institutions Have Free College Applications While Others Don’t?

Colleges and universities often have reasons for charging an application fee. For example, admission committees can determine whether you are serious about applying. This is how they see it: people don’t want to spend money on something that doesn’t interest them, even $30. If you change your mind after admission and withdraw your application, the college wastes time processing your request. 

However, application fees are not charged everywhere and always. Many Christian schools, online institutions, and liberal arts colleges often do not take it. Thus, they show they are open to accepting any applicant who wishes to attend them. 

How do you avoid paying the application fee for college admission? Many institutions have an online submission box where you can indicate that you want to apply for an application fee waiver. Who can use this option? Mostly, institutions are ready to help students from low-income families who can provide proof of their financial status.

Free Application: Colleges Guide

Whether or not a college charges an application fee, you must go through the same admission process. How to do it right? Here is a short step-by-step guide for you: 

Application Process Step by Step 

In the US, the application process for colleges with no application fee  and those charging fees usually involves several steps, including the following:

  • Researching colleges. First, you should explore colleges best suited for your chosen specialization. Check out carefully their descriptions, reviews, and education costs. This way, you will list only the most suitable options.
  • Taking standardized tests. Most American colleges require the SAT or ACT results for admission. Therefore, you should learn the requirements concerning these exams at the colleges of your choice. Check the average and minimum grade for passing.
  • Gathering application materials. It is better to start collecting the necessary documents in advance. In addition to your final exam results, you may need recommendations, essays, a motivation letter, and a resume. Carefully analyze the requirements of a particular college because some may ask for additional documents. 
  • Submitting applications. Most American colleges use an online application system. Thus, you may need to create an account, enter your personal information, and attach electronic versions of your documents.
  • Waiting for the results. After submitting your application, you should wait for the decision of each college. Sometimes, this process can take from several weeks to a few months. Finally, you will receive a college acceptance letter. Do not get discouraged early if the first response is a rejection.

Thus, the admission process for colleges with free applications is similar to the usual one. You just don’t pay the fees, that’s all.

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How to Prepare for Admissions

Your SAT or ACT final exam scores are crucial when applying to almost any college. Have you ever wondered how to boost your SAT and ACT grades? You’d better start preparing ahead of time. You can study independently using books and online resources to test your knowledge or hire a tutor. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from teachers and other students; make the best of every opportunity. The most important things are practicing and working on mistakes. So, the more diligent you are during this process, the more successful you will be on the exam. 

Studying and repeating the learned material should be a systematic process. Thus, you’ll avoid knowledge gaps and not miss the details. As you prepare for your final exams, pay special attention to topics that are difficult or unclear. Ask questions actively during classes, clarifying complicated or confusing points. However, do not dwell on complex topics; you may return to them later. 

In addition to exam preparations, you should make other arrangements. Follow the list below not to forget anything:

  • Define your interests. Answer honestly about your interests and the subjects you would like to study.
  • Gather admission information. Do research the admission requirements of the college of your choice.
  • Visit the college. Visit the college and talk to students and representatives.  
  • Create the admissions folder. Prepare documents in advance: upload all the necessary papers for admission and make a list of what needs to be added. 
  • Ask for financial aid. Find out if you are eligible for financial aid. Thus, you may cover all or part of your tuition costs in the future. 

The List of the Best Colleges With No Application Fee

You’re probably excited to see a list of colleges not charging application fees. Well, we have found 17 US colleges for you. Note that this is not a complete list, and there are other colleges with application-free policies. Therefore, you have numerous options to choose from: 

  • Macalester College
  • Colby College
  • Carleton College
  • Grinnell College
  • Smith College
  • Colorado College
  • Reed College
  • Kenyon College
  • Mount Holyoke College
  • Wabash College
  • Lakeshore Technical College
  • College of Wooster 
  • Central Wyoming College
  • Rhodes College 
  • St. Philip’s College
  • Connecticut College 
  • Lake Tahoe Community College


Today, you can find institutions in different parts of the country with free college application processes. It’s not that difficult; you just need to decide on your field of study. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from. The admission process is similar to those in colleges taking fees. 



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