The Real Cost of Applying to College

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

Photograph by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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School Research

So many colleges, so little time. Hit the books, make a list, and seek outside counsel.

$49: Top four most popular college guides on Fiske Guide to Colleges 2012 ($14.60), The Best 376 Colleges, 2012 ($13.17), Conquering the College Essay in 10 Steps ($6.86), The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2012 ($14.87)

$2,500: College Advisory Services, to supplement overworked and underpaid high school college counselor -- Position U4 College. The Junior & Senior Year Basic Package includes 18 one-hour sessions, e-mail essay review, and a Common Application workshop.

Tally: $18,304