Dollars and Sense

I have noticed that many applicant blogs cite distress over the high cost of just processing an application. The M mentioned the high application fees in two recent entries. I find this surprising because the actual cost (approximately $200) is insignificant compared to the amount of time you sink into your applications. If you calculate the value of your time, you are spending thousands of dollars on this process.

Not to mention, of course, the cost of the education itself. Tuition plus opportunity cost make the application fees seem downright menial. This entire process is a very, very big investment in yourself. Interestingly, the mere fact that you are investing in yourself is the first of many reasons why prospective employers and colleagues view the MBA as an important credential. The fact that you are willing to make such a significant investment in your own development says a lot about you.

However, you should be aware of this investment (dollars spent as well as time) every step of the way. Which is why I wanted to comment on The M’s recent entry, essays and fee waivers. Only apply to a school if you are interested in attending! The application just takes too much of your time, to apply just because they are willing to waive a $200 fee. If you are excited about the school, if you think it is the right fit for you, then by all means, take the $200 – it’s always nice to save the money. However, applying is an intensive year long process, and it is only the beginning. You have two more years of school ahead of you, plus an ongoing relationship with the school and your alumni network, forever. You really want to make sure that you are making the right choice. When you think of it in those terms, the application fee is negligible, waived or not, it absolutely should not factor into your “should I apply” decision.

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