Costs of Applying to Music Grad School

I have always known that the application process for college is expensive but I decided to actually add it all up this time around.  I am applying for doctoral music programs to 5 schools.  Here is what the application process alone cost me.

GRE Score reports had to be sent to multiple schools direct from the reporting agency.

Total Cost: $81.00

I also had to send official transcripts from both of my previously-attended Universities.  $6 each from one school and $12 each from the other added up fast.

Total Cost: $85.00

Application fees can be waived by some schools but not others.  Luckily I was able to receive waivers to 3 out of 5 schools.  One school charged an additional fee just to upload my pre-screening materials!

Total Cost: $195.00

As musicians, we must send pre-screening recordings to schools.  For me, this involved paying for recording space and an accompanist.  Here is how it broke down:

4 hours in the recording space: $50.00 (and that is a good deal most places)

2 hours of rehearsal with pianist: $80.00

3 hours of recording with pianist: $120.00

Total Cost: $250.00

              Luckily I was able to use some of these pieces for a recital too so I got some bang for my buck.

So, the applications alone cost a total of $611.00.  For me, that is just short of two months of rent.

And I haven’t even auditioned yet!  All that money could be for naught.  For each school I apply to and get called to for a live audition, I will have to spend between $350 and $800 to travel there depending on airfare and hotel availability.  If I fly separately to each school, I will spend $1750-$4000 on travel costs.

This will only be possible for me with reward flight miles my family happens to have from my parents traveling for business and by me staying on friends’ couches.  Even then, I am

It is the little things that add up quickly.  I urge schools to consider this when designing their application fee schedules.  I actually considered taking out loans just to pay applications costs!


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