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The Real Cost of Applying to College

By Mary Lowengard - 2011-10-04T21:32:01Z

Photograph by Mario Villafuerte/Bloomberg

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Extracurricular Activity

Great that your teenager spent the summer working as a lifeguard. Sadly, that likely won't give her the fodder she needs to write a bang-up essay.

$5,215: Community Service Summer Trip -- Rustic Pathways Village Documentary Project at a refugee school on the Thai-Burmese border. Eighteen days: program $3,120, airfare (New York to Bangkok) $1,695, spending money $400

$10,540: Summer session at Ivy League school shows you can cut it as a college student -- Cornell University Summer College Dual Program in Psychology and Environmental Sciences. Six weeks: application fee $65, tuition and residential charges $9,575, books and supplies $300, travel between Ithaca and New York City plus pocket money for duration $600

Tally: $15,755