Unlocking Application Fee Waivers for Your Dream Universities

Sudeepa Kolli
3 min readOct 5, 2023

When embarking on the journey of applying to universities, one of the less-talked-about challenges is the application fees which can quickly add up. But here’s a little secret: you can actually get application fee waivers for many universities. In this article, we’ll delve into various ways you can obtain those coveted fee waivers.

It’s worth noting that many universities, including prestigious Ivy League institutions, offer application fee waivers through various means. Keep an eye out for these opportunities, and don’t hesitate to explore every avenue to make your application process smoother.

1. Information Sessions:

One of the most common ways to secure a fee waiver is by attending an information session hosted by the university. Typically, at the end of these sessions, universities offer attendees application fee waivers or email them afterward. Even if you don’t end up with a waiver, attending these sessions can be immensely beneficial for getting your questions answered and gaining a deeper understanding of the program.

2. Forms on Program Website:

Keep a watchful eye on the program websites of your target universities. Some institutions provide application fee waiver forms that require you to submit your resume and, occasionally, answer a few questions. A committee will then review your details, and if they believe you’re a good fit for the program, they’ll send you a fee waiver. It’s an excellent opportunity to showcase your qualifications.

3. Personalized Email Requests:

While less common, a personalized email to the program coordinator can also work wonders. In your email, explain why you’re an ideal fit for the program, attaching your resume and any relevant projects or achievements. Program coordinators may respond by waiving the fee or providing you with an application fee waiver.

4. Networking with Professors:

If you have a specific professor in mind whom you’d like to work with or have a connection to, don’t hesitate to reach out. Share why you’re interested in their program and why you need a fee waiver. Professors can often connect you with program coordinators or even facilitate the fee waiver process themselves.

The Art of Customization: For any of the above approaches, personalization is key. Customize your requests with your resume and profile links, explaining precisely why the program at that university aligns with your goals and how you plan to contribute to it. Demonstrating a genuine interest in the program can make a significant difference.

Don’t Be Afraid to Follow Up: After reaching out, give the university a reasonable timeframe to respond, usually 2–3 business days. Remember, they receive a deluge of emails during the admissions cycle, so a polite follow-up email can help keep your request on their radar.

In conclusion, obtaining application fee waivers can significantly ease the financial burden of applying to multiple universities. Whether you opt for information sessions, website forms, personalized emails, networking with professors, or a combination of these strategies, a proactive approach can open doors to your dream universities without breaking the bank. Happy applying! 🎓💡