What It Costs Superapplicantitis
By Beth Kobliner, with Katie Brown in San Francisco

(MONEY Magazine) – So far, Alison Greenwald's parents have spent $4,675.50 on her college expenses. Not surprising, you say? But Alison is still a senior at Monte Vista High School in Danville, Calif. Like tens of thousands of affluent teens, Alison has come down with applicantitis, a greenback-eating virus that can easily spread out of control. The early symptoms are mild. To boost her sophomore SAT total of 1010, for instance, Alison signed up for a $150 school-sponsored prep course. That helped lift her PSAT score to 1240. Still not satisfied, she took the $500 Princeton Review course and wound up with a final SAT score of 1310. New total, including fees for one PSAT and two SATs: $682. Meanwhile, her mother Nicole, a homemaker, heard independent college counselor Jane McClure lecture at a local high school and immediately signed up Alison. Since both Nicole and her husband Roger, an ophthalmologist, are from Ohio, they figured McClure could offer help -- at $925 -- in choosing eastern schools. New total: $1,607. In addition to coming up with a list of 17 colleges she thought best fit her client, McClure helped the mother and daughter plan an if- it's-Wednesday-this-must-be-Cornell tour, covering 10 colleges in seven days last August. ''One day we took three planes,'' recalls Alison, adding that the trip ''almost made it harder because I got a positive feeling from all of the schools.'' Cost of the travel: $2,536. At the 11 schools Alison applied to, here is her status as MONEY went to press: accepted at Claremont-McKenna, Tufts, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara; waitlisted at Boston College; rejected by Stanford; and no word yet from Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Princeton and Skidmore.


SAT prep course offered by her high school $150.00 Princeton Review SAT prep course 500.00 SAT and PSAT exam fees 32.00 Independent college counselor 925.00 Air fares for seven-day tour of 15 colleges 1,493.00 Hotels, food, rental car for college tour 1,043.00 College guidebooks 75.00 Application fees for 11 colleges 440.00 Postage for applications 17.50 TOTAL $4,675.50