How to Save Time On Your College Applications

If a standard option is available at schools on your short list, it's worth considering.

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4. State programs: Some states offer ways to streamline the application process for students considering multiple schools. 

[Find out how staying in your region can save thousands on college tuition.] 

For instance, for the first time this year, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities have teamed up to offer a standard application for students interested in more than one state option. 

"We are a system that has seven state universities and about 30 two-year institutions, [so] a student transferring from a community college would have seven choices if they want to stay in our system," says Mike Lopez, associate vice chancellor of student affairs at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. "In the old system, it used to be that they'd fill in the information, send out the application, and then if they wanted to resubmit to another institution they'd have to go through the same process again." 

Now, any student—freshman or transfer from any state—can apply to any of the participating schools for a $20 fee each. The application is accepted at state schools including St. Cloud State University and Winona State University, though schools in the University of Minnesota system do not participate. 

A similar program exists in Texas, where any U.S. resident can apply to every state public school, as well as some private colleges, with the ApplyTexas application. 

With the tag line, "Explore. Apply. Repeat.," the online portal offers a streamlined version of the college application that, at participating school Schreiner University, is given equal weight as the school's own application.

"I usually just tell [students] that we're very flexible and we don't care," says Janie Groll, Schreiner's assistant director of admissions. "It's entirely their option, but if they are planning on looking at several schools—and I recommend to them that they do—[then] use ApplyTexas." 

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