Choosing Your Final Programs to Apply To

Decisions, decisions. It’s time to pick the graduate school program winners that will receive your application. By now, you should have built an extensive decision matrix and spent time talking to the program that you’re interested in. But now you’ll want to narrow it down to the select few to which you’ll apply.

Application fees and how to minimize them

The average number of applications most prospective graduate students submit is between five and seven. Remember, each application entails not only a potentially lengthy process, but oftentimes comes with a fee. The average application fee is $44, with some as high as $105 (University of California system). There are some universities that do not charge application fees, and many schools offer application fee waivers for a variety of reasons including financial constraints, veteran status and campus visits.

Visiting a campus either in-person or virtually, meeting with admissions officers and/or participating in online campus programs are good ways to receive an application fee waiver. Typically, you’ll receive a code to be input before you submit your application to waive the fee. Your decision on which programs to apply to shouldn’t be based on whether they have an application fee though. A no-fee program may not be right for you or offer what you are looking for. However, it’s important to research what application fees are involved, if any, and whether they offer fee waivers.

Prioritizing your list

Once you’ve decided how many programs you want to apply to based on the time and money you want to invest, start coupling the programs with your top priorities. If you’ve established the right criteria and done through research, you’ll be in a strong position to narrow down to list to your target number so you can start focusing on maximizing your chances of being accepted into the graduate program of your choice.