Every parent is all too familiar with the high cost of sending a child to college, but many people do not consider that the admissions process can get expensive too – unless you adopt some cost-cutting strategies. Jean Chatzky, the Today Show’s personal finance expert, reports that the average family spends $3,500 preparing and applying to college. But she has a number of tips for bringing that cost down. For example, are you interested in a campus tour? Narrow down your choices through virtual online tours. Then when it’s time to travel on site, see if you can combine the trip with your family vacation or business meeting. Another cost-cutting strategy is to avoid applying to literally dozens of colleges, which can get expensive in application fees alone. Ask your child’s high school counselor to narrow down the choices to schools that are both academically and financially feasible. Last but not least, consider the costs of standardized test-taking and preparation. By planning ahead and preparing well in advance, you can avoid many of the extra fees associated with testing. Or consider a university that has opted to go test-optional, Chatzky suggests. That way, you can send in your scores only if you do well, and avoid the angst – and expense — of taking the test again and again if your score is average or below.