Entire Application Process Cost
When it comes to managing college fees, every penny counts. While college education is a student’s most significant expense, costs can add up – and these begin even before a student is accepted.
Although orientation fees, campus facilities, laboratories, and other miscellaneous things may exist, a prospective student would need to pay an application fee first. It is in addition to the other costs associated with applying for college, such as taking the GRE or GMAT, registering for Advanced Placement exams for students looking for college credit, and traveling to campuses for tourism.
The cost of applying to college can always require much more than the application fee, and those costs may become large for those applying to many colleges.
Here’s a list of all the expenses you can look forward to incurring in your application process.
We wanted to keep this a general blog but decided to revolve around one student’s journey on the application procedure. This way, you get an insight into the mistakes Parth made and do not repeat them. Parth is a graduate student from Purdue. You can find him here.
Cost of GRE Study Material 📚
Choosing the right prep course is a crucial decision, one that will help you score higher on the GRE and get into the graduate school of your dreams. You’ll be spending many hours studying, so it’s crucial to find the study materials that best fit your learning style and background.
So here’s a list of all the books I have compiled for you to prepare for the GRE test. It includes:
I know many people must be wondering why I bought the books rather than just downloading the PDF. But I was always more inclined towards having a physical copy rather than a PDF. Also, I took up some coaching classes, which’s why I had the official guides.
All of the books above can cost you anywhere between 30-35 USD – 2590 INR (approx.)
Total = $35
Coaching and Consultancies 👩🏫
We always suggest the students bank upon their judgment and research while applying to universities abroad. The cost gets immediately spiked with the involvement of consultancy firms that charge an excessive amount, either for processing the application forms or writing a fancy SOP. It may look like a cumbersome task initially but is much simpler once you get an idea of how to go about the entire application process and the universities that best suit your goals and aspirations.
However, for some students, coaching classes may prove to be very helpful in general. It is entirely subjective on the candidate’s preference and requirements.
Attending a well-known coaching class in your locality can cost you anywhere between $300-$500!
Parth’s thought on Consultancies!
I am strictly against consultants. They aren’t worth the penny and can ruin your future. But coaching classes are different; I went to Jamboree because it was the closest to my place. It isn’t easy to study independently for some people. I, too, tend to lose my focus and get diverted. I joined the classes to spend atleast 2-3 hours on GRE during the lessons and some extra hours while doing assignments.
Also, Jamboree gave me four books, 2 for quant and 2 for verbal. They also have an online portal and flashcard app. You can download the flashcard app. It’s free but only for Android.
They have 9 Mock tests for GRE and some mocks for TOEFL. I did not buy other mocks for the sole reason. Jamboree costed me 20,000 INR = $ 310
Total = $345
Cost of Standardized Tests 💻
As of this date, the cost of appearing for the GRE General Test is USD 205 = INR 15,185 (approx.)
This cost is recurring, i.e., every time you appear for the test or re-attempt it, you are liable to pay $205.
Moreover, your examination fee entitles you to submit scores to up to four fellowship sponsors or graduate institutions. You can determine which test scores to send to the institutions you designate so that you can send the scores that you believe represent your personal best, giving you more trust on the test day. If you plan to send scores to other institutions or intend to send scores after the test day, you can do so by ordering additional score reports for a fee of US$27 per receipt.
Parth took GRE TWICE!
I bet 50% of you did not know that GRE stands for that. I didn’t either; I googled it when some older person asked me what it stands for. If you did not know yet, I took GRE twice, once in October and another in November. That adds up to two amounts $205 + $205 = USD 410 which equates to INR 26,500.
For instance, sending scores to 5 different universities like the ones listed below would cost you 27*5 = USD 135 = INR 9995.
Wow, that’s quite an amount but all of this would not matter, we will tell you why at the end of the blog.
Total = $895
Unlike the GRE, TOEFL is a lesser nasty piece of work. Though one can appear for the test multiple times, you’d have to take it only once unless you mess it up the first time itself. Also, if you are looking for an assistantship, you need a good score for TOEFL.
- A minimum of 26 in both listening and speaking.
The TOEFL tariff varies according to the location where you decide to take the assessment. The cost ranges from $170 to $245 from one nation to another. In the USA, it is worth approximately $185. It does not matter from which state the candidate comes from; you will need to pay the registration fees in U.S. Dollars.
Before the big day, you should log into your ETS TOEFL iBT account and add universities to your list of score recipients. You can add four schools for free — but only if you do this before 10 p.m. on the day before your test. After 10 p.m., you can choose to send additional score reports for $19 each.
I had to send in the score to two different universities, which means I spent $40 ($20 each) = INR 2600.
TOEFL cost me a total of $210.
Total = $1105
Parth’s personal experience
During my second attempt, I bought a Magoosh account and focussed on just that. Magoosh could be a game changer for a lot of people. I think the whole setup is arranged nicely. Magoosh originally is priced at $179 which makes it more cheap than others. This is not an ad but us just promoting a good product.
Honestly, I spent $15 i.e. INR 1000 on that. Me and my friend got a steal deal from someone for $30 for a 3-month valid account. And we were extremely, hence we frugal shared that account as well. We managed it.
Total – $1120
University Application Cost 📑
Most of the colleges that charge the highest application fees are National Universities, which are typically researched-focused institutions that offer a variety of college majors and also provide master’s and doctoral programs.
Some of the schools with the highest application fee are ranked in the top 10 among National Universities. These include Harvard University in Massachusetts, ranked at No. 2; Columbia University in New York at No. 3; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University in Connecticut, both tied at No. 4; Stanford University in California and the University of Chicago, both tied at No. 6; the University of Pennsylvania at No. 8; and the California Institute of Technology and Northwestern University in Illinois, both tied at No. 9.
Access the U.S. News College Compass to find your college application fees, complete rankings and much more.
Parth’s application costs
I applied to 9 Universities in total, one of which REJECTED my application. That was the University of Florida.
Here is a list of universities along with their application cost
- Purdue, UIUC, ASU, Clemson – $100*4 = $400
- UFL – $30
- Swedish Universities (KTH, Chalmers, JU) – 900 SEK = $105
- TU Delft – 105 EUR = $120
If you are wondering why I just mentioned $105 for Swedish Universities, you can apply for up to 5 universities/courses in Sweden for that amount. I loved the Swedish application process. It took me 15 minutes to finish the entire process, and they didn’t ask for the GRE scores either. All it took was $105 and my credentials.
Totaling this amount, $655
Total – $1775
After all this, I had to wait for about 2-3 months before I had admits from the universities. The first admit I received was from KTH, followed by ASU, UIUC, Purdue, and Clemson. I received admit letter from T.U. Delft in the second week of June.
After receiving admits, there is a tedious process that you have to go through to show funding and to get an i-20. You do not have to worry for three months before going to the University.
During COVID, many universities waived off the application fee to let more applications flow in. Hence there is a possibility of the expense getting waived off completely.
I-20 and Visa 🛂
Parth’s Visa experience
I was completely unaware of the small fees included in the i-20 Visa process. So if you do not understand what i-20 is, I will explain it in one sentence. I-20 is the document from the University to the U.S. embassy stating that they have checked your financial records and have officially given you admission.
You should have the original document with you in hand while going for the visa interview, and for ordering the same from the University to your home, you pay $60.
Next, you have to fill a DS-160 form; consider this as your visa application. You have to pay 170 USD ( INR 10880). Since you are a student, you pay a service fee equal to $200.
Totaling this is equal to $430.
Total – $2190 (INR 1,41,000)
So, I spent approximately USD 2000 on the entire application process.
This number might be scary for many people, and when you add it up, it feels like you did spend a lot. But you have to consider that if you land up a job in the U.S., the minimum income is around 3000 USD/month. It is as a minimum as it can get for a master’s degree abroad.
Now, are you feeling like the total amount you earn is nothing compared to what you will make.
That’s the whole point of this blog. If you ever wondered, you should either retake GRE, buy books, or apply to more Universities because it costs a lot. THEN RETHINK! You might spend a little more now, but the ROI is enormous.