I expected that the transition from salaried, government employee to graduate student would be frustrating, but I did not expect just how many expenses would find their way into the budget. One such expense is the upcoming cost of doctoral applications. I am anticipating this by researching the 2017-2018 application costs for each school to which I intend to apply this autumn. However, as an extra evaluation tool for calculating the anticipated fees, I decided to review how much I spent on master’s applications. Here is a breakdown:

  1. Graduate Record Examination
    1. Test Fee – $205
    2. Additional Score Reports – $27 each x 3 schools = $81 (I didn’t even complete two of the applications as I received an offer from JHU in early December.)
    3. Prep Materials
      1. Princeton Review GRE Premium Edition – $23.29
      2. ETS Official GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions – $10.56
      3. ETS Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions – $14.66
      4. Manhattan Prep 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice Problems – $11.96
    4. Test Day Transportation – $8.00
  2. Application Fees
    1. Johns Hopkins University – $80.00
    2. Iowa State University – $60.00
    3. Ohio State University – $60.00
    4. University of Colorado – Boulder – $60.00
    5. University of Indiana – Bloomington – $55.00

I spent $660.47 to apply to master’s programs. That is more than $600 just to apply. That number would have tripled if my work schedule and location hadn’t prevented me from attending an examination preparation course, and there was the possibility that I wouldn’t receive any offers. Where would I be then? I think honest discussions are important to developing financial health, and one of the topics regularly posted here will be how I am managing the financial aspect of graduate education.

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