Self Reporting Solution to Expensive Application Process

Layla Wright, Visual Media Editor

$231: that is what I spent last weekend sending ACT scores, AP test scores, and transcripts to my potential colleges, on top of the $50+ per college application fees whose deadlines are right around the corner.

College is expensive, but spending hundreds of dollars on merely the application process is ridiculous. While I am only planning to complete applications to 7 schools, many of my classmates, some of whom are sending out dozens of applications, will be paying much more.

But why do test scores and transcript requests cost so much money in the 1st place? Where is this money going?

Senior class president Paige Danforth explained that money for transcripts goes to the school because it supposedly costs money for Campolindo to send these transcripts.

For test scores, however, it’s a different story: it already costs $59 to take the ACT tests, $52 for the SAT, and $92 for each AP exam. Adding processing fees to have the scores reported is excessive. ACT and College Board do not need additional money simply to e-mail an official document to a school.

The alternative to this expensive process is test score self-reporting. It is an idea currently being considered by many institutions in order to lower the application process expense. I believe that all schools should use this system in order to make applying to college a process that doesn’t break the bank.

There are some folks who believe self reporting scores doesn’t work, such as Crystal Garvey, Sr. Associate Director, Admissions Systems & Processing at Northern Illinois University. He explained that NIU used to self-report scores, but now require official documents from its applicants.  “We found that for our students, entering detailed course-by-course grade information was a barrier in that it was more time consuming than it was to request an official transcript,” he said in an interview with Parchment News.

While I recognize that self-reporting is a tedious task, if it saves up to $5o, I think many students and parents would agree that it would be worth it.

On the other hand, some may argue that self-reporting could open the door for students to report inflated scores. But this is not the case: students know they will be required to send in official scores once they have been accepted. Instead of paying for multiple reports, every student only needs to cover the cost of reporting to a single school, the school they decide to attend.

And while I do recognize that universities, ACT, and College Board offer waivers or similar items to low-income students when necessary, it is still expensive to families who may not be considered “low-income.” No one, not even those who can technically afford it, want to pay these fees.

The University of Virginia is 1 school that has begun to support the self-reporting model.  Their dean of admissions, Greg Roberts, wrote in his admissions blog that he would like to see a shift in other colleges, “It’s no secret that I haven’t been a fan of the rising cost of score reporting, so I’m excited about this news!” he said.

Self-reporting would be a particular benefit to Campolindo, a campus where applying to a dozen or more colleges is not uncommon.