How to Save Time (and Money) Applying for College!

The college application process can be overwhelming, time consuming and expensive! Here’s what you need to make the process a little easier, and maybe save money too! 

The college application process can be overwhelming, time consuming and expensive! Here’s what you need to make the process a little easier, and maybe save money too! 

Common Application 

If it is accepted by the schools you are interested in, one way to save time is to use the Common Application. Students fill out one master application which can be sent to hundreds of schools nationwide, including these Alabama schools:  

  • Birmingham-Southern College 
  • Samford University 
  • Spring Hill College 
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham 

For more information, visit 

 Don’t Go Overboard 

Every student should apply to at least a few different schools, but there’s probably no need to send in applications to more than six. Not only is it time consuming, but with application fees ranging from $50-90, the cost can start adding up before you even set foot on campus! 

 Get a Waiver 

Students with financial need may qualify for an application fee waiver through NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling). For more information, visit . 

 Not all waivers are based on income, however. Some schools will waive the application fee when you visit campus for a tour or talk to a recruiter at a college fair. In addition, if you’re a student who scored well on your ACT or SAT, you may receive application fee waivers in the mail, so watch your mailbox and don’t toss those pamphlets without checking for an application waiver code! 

 No-Fee Schools 

Not all schools have application fees; as a matter of fact, around three hundred schools nationwide are no-fee colleges, including these Alabama schools:  

  • Birmingham-Southern College (before Nov. 15) 
  • Huntingdon College 
  • Coastal Alabama Community College 
  • Lawson State Community College 
  • Southern Union State Community College 
  • Trenholm State Community College 

 The HBCU Common College Application 

Are you interested in attending an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)? Check out, where you can apply to any of the 50 member institutions at once for only $35, including Alabama State University and Tuskegee University. 

Tip from Tuskegee University:Students who use the HBCU Common Application should follow up with the institution’s admissions office to ensure that their application has been received and processed to maximize financial aid options. 

 ACT/SAT Fee Waivers 

Everyone knows that to get the best score, you should take the ACT and/or SAT multiple times. But with fees of $39.50-56.50 for the ACT and $43-54.50 for the SAT, the price can be prohibitive for many students, creating an obstacle between them and their best possible score. Did you know that it is possible to get a fee waiver for these tests?   

 You can qualify for an SAT or ACT waiver if you answer yes to any of the following: 

  • You participate in the free lunch program.
  • You participate in a state or federal program for low income families, such as Upward Bound.
  • You live in public housing.
  • You live in a foster home.
  • You are a ward of the state or an orphan.
  • Your family meets income requirements. See

In addition, students who receive ACT/SAT waivers may automatically qualify for application waivers as well. Speak to your school guidance counselor for more details! 


As an editor, copywriter, and social media manager at exploreMedia, I work to develop content that is relevant and interesting to our readers and coordinate with contributing writers.

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