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Is it better to apply to a school you have a shot getting into but not being able to pay tuition or not applying at all?

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Nancy’s Answer

Hi, Lisa,

One reason it is worth applying if you think you might go there is that you will have an opportunity to apply for financial aid and scholarships if you apply. At some colleges, all candidates are considered for scholarships. Applying for financial aid early is key, also. You can do that at in the fall of the year before you enter college. That program helps you identify the amount most colleges will expect your family to contribute, which helps them compute your financial need.

If you already know that despite scholarships you may be awarded and aid you may be eligible for that you can't afford to go, such as if you must live at home, this may not be worth your time.

Nancy recommends the following next steps:

Fill out FAFSA at https://fafsa.ed.gov/

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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Lisa! My sister actually kind of went through something similar. She was and is still a very good student and applied to several Ivy league schools, which were definitely costly as well. However, once she got accepted she received scholarships and grants; granted she did take out loans but she was very happy to be at the college she selected. Make sure to feel out FAFSA and see if you can get scholarships, because the school may not be as expensive for you in the end! You will never be too certain of what you must pay with out financial aid finalized. It is also important to make sure that even though the college/university may be costly, are you able to receive help in your future career choice? Some colleges are expensive but the mentorships and guidance they offer students, allows for students to prosper and do well in their career choices. Definitely get a tour in with the college you are interested in and ask questions about your major/career choice, advising, guidance, internships, etc.

As a last note I would also apply to schools in which you do have a chance at acceptance as well as being able to the pay the tuition; a back up plan in case the financial aid doesn't work out for your primary choice.

I wish you the best!

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Sherrill’s Answer

Hi Lisa,

This will be fun and exciting! Don't limit yourself--I would look at schools for which you are a good fit, and then apply. If you are accepted, the school will help you get the funding needed to attend, with with Scholarships and/or loans. Find a place that will support you and help you thrive. If you can find several places, that is even better. The schools you are accepted will want you to come and succeed. Good luck on your journey, and make sure you pick wisely!