What if the College of your dreams accepts you, but the college you know you should go to does not?
I have been accepted into the school of my dreams which happens to be the best school for engineering in the country. However, it costs significantly more than my second-choice school -almost three times more- However, my second-choice school, which is the one that my family can afford, did not accept me into the engineering major. While I can attempt to appeal the decision, I am not sure if there will be a point. Should I be excited that I got into my first choice school, and wory about the price later, or should I try to get into the college that my family can afford.
Choosing where will be your best fit, both academically and financially, isn't something I could not answer for you, way to many variables at play there. I can however possibly shine some light onto why you were accepted into your dream school, but not by what sounds like your "safety" school. It may have something to do with college rankings.
One of the big variables colleges are ranked by (especially in the far too valued - in my opinion- US News and World reports college ranking) is acceptance rating. A school with a more competitive acceptance rate is viewed as more elite, that is why schools like Harvard love to brag about their single digit acceptance rate.
So how does a safety school increase their acceptance rate without stopping a lot of deserving kids from going to school? One trick they use is to look at matriculation stats. If they make an offer to someone like you, someone capable of getting into a "dream" school, what are the odds you'll actually attend? You are more than likely to want to go to the dream school. So they accepted someone but got no value out of it. So some schools, it is believed, have taken to a practice of rejecting top tier students they assume will just end up going to a different college anyway. It boosts their acceptance rating without hurting matriculation.
While I've never worked in college admissions, I have worked on HR algorithms that sort candidates for interviews, and I have seen this type of logic employed there as well. There is an interesting book called Weapons of Math Destruction in which the author much better explains this type of selection logic.
The big take away here is, you were probably rejected by an algorithm, don't let it bother you.
It seems that your best foot forward will be on the campus of your dreams. Make the most of it. Seize this opportunity. And please note that nowadays, there are tons of grants, scholarships that are offered periodically throughout each semester to help with the financial burden. Keep an eye out for those (as well as your enriching summer opportunities) and enjoy your time and do well!