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While completing college applications, many students and their parents wonder whether they are on track with their peers. Are they ahead of the curve, or falling behind? Did the essays take them an abnormally short amount of time, or much too long?

On average, with campus visits and tours included, deciding which colleges to apply to can take 20 to 40 hours. This depends on how open a student is to different factors, such as geographical region, selectivity, and the number of schools to which they wish to apply. 

Studying for and taking standardized exams ranges from 10 to 40 hours. This can take longer if the student studies excessively and takes an exam more than once.

Ten to 20 hours is the amount of time it usually takes for a student to collect the information and documents that need to be submitted to the schools. This information includes grades, standardized exam scores, sports and arts program participation, community service, and work history. In addition, students need to request recommendations from counselors and teachers. 

Filling out FAFSA information and planning for financial aid usually costs a student 10 to 20 hours. This includes providing colleges with information about the family’s finances, including their income tax information. Students also spend time researching the various financial aid and scholarship opportunities available to them.

The standard college application has a minimum of 40 information fields that require completion. Therefore, it takes roughly two hours for a student to complete the information components of the applications. 

Finally, a student will spend 10 to 20 hours writing the application essays. Because the essay prompts and word count requirements differ from college to college, writing, and revising essays for a single college takes a significant amount of time. It is recommended that a student work on their Common Application essay for a few months, in order to polish and perfect it. Supplemental essays (two to three essays of 300 words) require 30 to 40 hours to draft and edit. 

Overall, depending on the number of colleges applied to, a student can spend anywhere from 60 to 200 hours completing their college applications. 

If this sounds like too much effort for you, contact Global Academic Consultants and we’ll streamline the process for you!