Dude, college is kind of expensive

As college deadlines seem to be fast approaching, the stress level of the much of the senior class has spiked in recent weeks. Students are taking ACT’s, SAT’s, and SAT Subject Tests, lining up recommendation letters, and writing admissions essays, while parents are beginning to stress about the financial effect of college. It is common knowledge that college tuition costs an exorbitant amount of money these days, but it may come as a surprise to some that the admissions process in general is quite expensive on its own. First, one must pay the admission fee, which can range from $30 to $75, and that just guarantees the possibility of admission. Then there are the tests that most schools require for admission: the ACT and SAT. Both cost around $45, which seems reasonable until those companies explain that it costs extra to send scores to each university. In addition to the ACT and SAT, the College Board also has the SAT Subject Tests available, which lets the students choose what subjects they think will be best for them. These tests are mandatory for many very selective schools, and some require that Subject Tests be submitted with the SAT if that is the standardized test the student has decided to submit. There are several other additions to the application process that rack up quite a bill, including fees for taking the AP exam and sending those scores, sending high school transcripts. After considering all these additional fees, it is easy to feel like the college process has become more of a business than a learning experience, which is, to a degree, true. After all, the College Board alone has spawned the multi-million dollar test-prep industry. Now not only are colleges and universities profiting more, but the business of getting into college is quite profitable as well. It is understandable that these corporations need the money to create exams, pay their employees, and proctor the exams, but it still seems like the fees are excessive. Colleges and universities also cause families distress because of incredibly high tuition costs. Again, it is reasonable for tuition to be expensive, as universities now need large budgets to function, but the costs appear to be disproportionate to what is actually needed. College recruitment campaigns come to mind when thinking of unnecessary spending. Sure, it is good for a college to try to provoke interest in students by mass mailings, but when a student receives brochures from a college almost daily, it is a waste of time and resources. Mass mailings can seem insincere, as well, when several students receive the same mailings from the same schools as each other. The ranking system for colleges is partially based on how low the acceptance rate of a school is, meaning the lower the acceptance rate, the higher the rank, typically. This causes schools to create advertising campaigns to recruit more applicants, so they can reject more people, thus potentially earning them a higher ranking, which inevitably means more money for that school (and probably more applicants the next year). It would be unproductive for colleges and universities to eliminate most of their excess fees, as it could diminish the quality of the school, but they should consider the fact that many students are turned off by such expensive costs for a higher education. Some institutions have implemented a new application process that does not require standardized tests, and others have gotten rid of application fees if submitted online, which are steps in the right direction. The College Board may be ruthless in earning money, but colleges have the power to stop being so greedy and return to just being communities where higher education is the top priority.