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How can I cope with not getting being able to afford your dream school?

I have unfortunately set my mind on one school. Although I am applying to multiple, I can only really see myself at this one school. The problem is if I don't get a chunk of financial aid, then it will be really hard for me to actually attend that institution. How can I cope so I won't be devastated? #financial-aid #college #scholarship #college-admissions #finance

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Roger’s Answer

Hi Julia:

I had the same issue. I had my “dream school” – the University of Southern California. But, I could not afford 4 years of USC. So, to save money, I lived at home and dual enrolled at a local community college and a local state university. I spent my first two years of college at both Cal. State Northridge and Glendale Community College in California. Then I transferred to USC.

I think you should try to attend your dream school (especially if it is a top tier school). But, you also need to evaluate the costs to go to that school. Typically students who go to top tier and highly competitive elite colleges do far superior in the job market when graduating from college.

Some colleges are very generous with financial assistance. So, I am glad you are applying to multiple colleges. Who knows, the school that provides the most money to ease your college bills can quickly become your “dream school.” Your choice of college does matter and you should select the school that is right for you and your academic interests… and the costs need to be reasonable.

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Kristine’s Answer

If you can't go to your dream school, make the school you go to your dream school. Find a school that you can afford that has the things you value the most, whatever they are - a particular major, location, climate, campus life, collegiate sports, etc. When I look back on my college experience, I appreciate the great education I got that set me on a fulfilling career, but I most think most about the friends, relationships and experiences I had when I was there. Love where you go and take advantage of all it has to offer!

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Claire’s Answer

Hi Julia! I think it's helpful to think about why your dream school is your dream school. Is it the "best" school to go to for your preferred major? Do you like the campus? How about the class sizes? Do you just want to say you went there? Did members of your family attend?

Once you've figured out why your dream school is your dream school, it will be easier to make decisions. You may find that many other schools exist with similar attributes that made this school your dream school! Start with "why"!