LSA senior Ben Wanger has applied to 25 law schools, each costing him close to $70 per application. In addition to the application costs and the cost of setting up an online account to organize and send out these applications, he has also taken an LSAT preparation class. So far, Wanger estimates he has spent close to $4,000 on the process.
“I’ve spent a lot of money. It sucks, but hopefully it will be worth it in the end,” Wanger said.
Law school is not the only professional program that costs applicants a lot of time and money to apply. As application deadlines approach, students applying to graduate and professional schools are spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on their entire application process.
Medical school applications are just as expensive, if not more, than law schools. These fees usually pay for the cost of processing the application.
LSA senior Marc Piper has applied to 27 different medical schools. Because applying to medical school is a multi-part process — each requiring additional payments — Piper says he has already spent more than $3,000.
“It’s a money game,” Piper said.
And because of these steep additional costs, Piper says he will have to reduce the number of schools to which he sends additional applications.
To top it all off, the medical school application process also includes an interview, and applicants themselves are responsible for transportation, lodging and food expenses. For students like Piper who apply to numerous out-of-state schools, this can also be very expensive.
Similarly, dental schools have a three-step process. LSA senior Matt Vanderalaan was surprised and annoyed by the high cost of the application process.
“It ended up being twice as much as I thought it would be,” Vanderlaan said. As of now, he estimates to have spent more than $1,700, a total he expects will rise quickly with the interview process.
For those not applying to professional schools, the costs are still high. Kumar Kintala, an Engineering senior, applied to six graduate schools for city planning. In addition to the $60 each application cost, he also paid the $115 to take the GRE this November. Students applying to law school must take the LSAT test that costs $112 to register, and those applying to medical school take the MCAT test that costs $190.
In light of the high costs of standardized test fees, there are some programs that offer financial assistance to students with “extreme financial limitations.” The Association of American Medical Colleges, for example, offers a Fee Assistance Program, that reduces the $190 MCAT test fee to $85 for test takers who would not be able to take the test without the financial help. In addition to assistance programs, many universities waive application fees for high standardized-test scores.
Preparation classes for these standardized tests are not cheap. Test preparation centers like Kaplan, Princeton and other online programs offer basic packages from about $499 to $4,000 for personal tutoring packages.
For the University, Rackham oversees the graduate school applications. The cost to apply is $60 for U.S citizens and $75 for non-U.S. citizens — who make up more than half of Rackham’s 20,000 applications yearly. Despite the money that is generated from these applications, University spokeswoman Julie Peterson says it is not nearly enough to cover the expenses the University itself faces.
“The fee partially compensates the University for processing the applications but certainly does not cover the entire cost,” Peterson said.