College Admissions Decisions: What Now?

Colleges have made their decisions and informed angst-filled applicants. Some results were amazing; some were disappointing. If you're a high school senior heading to college, you're probably sitting there with your big pile of decisions. You're no doubt also comparing your financial aid awards with those decisions and, hopefully, with the cooperative help of your parents, trying to make the right choice. Striking the right balance between where you want to go and where you can reasonably afford to go can be tougher than walking a wire across the Grand Canyon. It takes a lot of hard thinking and embracing reality.

Of course, there's also that sinister factor that sometimes gets overlooked amid all the excitement and rush of a coveted college acceptance: student loan debt. To give you an example of what I mean about loan debt reality vs. acceptance excitement, here a response to a client of mine who was thrilled by her acceptance to Boston University and New York University. She said that her parents informed her that any loan debt would be entirely her responsibility, so she agreed to accept that requirement. Here's what I told her:

I can offer you a few thoughts on BU's financial aid package. Since you will be responsible for all of your loans, that is, to pay them all back, you should really take a hard look at the loan situation from BU.

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