Meet the 18-Year-Old That’s Helping Students Apply to College for Free

Plucked CEO Denisha Kuhlor talks eliminating the costs of college application fees

Image: Denisha Kuhlor

Going through the process of applying to colleges and narrowing down your options can be both a stressful and expensive experience for students and parents. While many families worry about the rising cost of college tuition, others become financially stumped by expensive application fees and the money it cost to send SAT/ACT scores to each school. Among the 1,073 schools examined by US News, the average college application fee is $41, with schools such as Stanford University charging as much as $90 to apply.

With the goal to help alleviate this cost for many families and expand the pool of potential colleges for many students, 18-year-old Denisha Kuhlor is working to make the college process simple and affordable with her new web application Plucked.

After going through the process herself and applying to and getting accepted in over 40 colleges free of charge, this College of Mount Saint Vincent freshman decided to use the lessons and knowledge she learned to help other students do the same. She launched Plucked in June 2014 as a way for students to approach the application process in a more organized and cost effective way. Partnering with different schools to offer students a free application, Kuhlor says the deal is a winning situation for both the applicants and the institutions.

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“We are able to convince schools to do this because one, application fees aren’t a real source of revenue for most schools and two, they are able to get access to students that otherwise may not have been able to apply,” Kuhlor tells while explaining that schools pay a one year subscription fee based on the number of undergraduate students at their institution.

In addition to waiving the application fee for students, Kuhlor has also created a way to lower the cost of sending your SAT/ACT test scores to colleges. With Plucked, students can go to the College Board website take a screenshot of their test scores and send them to schools with the fee being contingent on if they decide to enroll in that school. Once a final decision is made, students will then have to pay the required fee to send their verified test scores. Under this method, students come out of their pocket with a one time fee to send their scores to the final school of their choice versus paying to send scores to each school they apply to.

With fall 2015 being the start date for when students can officially log on and use the service, Plucked is now set up for students to request an invitation to the web app. Once fall arrives, students will go online and create an application, similar to the common college application, and then begin their search for schools. After finding a school that has partnered with Plucked and making sure they meet all the requirements, students will then send their application to the school free of charge.

“I think my biggest thing with Plucked is I want students to feel like they have power in the college admissions process,” says Kuhlor. “I think a lot of times the process is portrayed as these schools are picking you and I don’t think students always think their decisions are as important in the process. So ultimately, I want kids to say, ‘I created an application on Plucked and I applied to 10 schools and narrowed it down to two and the school I’m going to I didn’t pay anything to apply and I love it.'”

To learn more about how you can take advantage of this new web application visit

2 Responses to Meet the 18-Year-Old That’s Helping Students Apply to College for Free

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