The Real Cost of Applying to College

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

Photograph by Aaron Cameron Muntz

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Last-minute schmoozing could make a difference, but over-doing it could backfire.

$350: Two dinners to court prominent alumni at "reach" schools where acceptance may be a stretch. (Each dinner includes one alumnus and spouse, and the applicant and parents)

$261: Flowers for two academic teachers who wrote recommendations and the school college adviser. (Heck, maybe she'll send out the transcripts faster.) Medium Beautiful Basket $65. Plus tax and delivery equals $87 each

Tally: $31,811