So we're steering her to public schools and a less selective private school where it looks lilke she could get merit aid. I feel bad because her Naviance graphs show she could get into some decent private schools but I just don't want to make her go through the process, love the school, get in and then agonize over costs.
"Feeling bad" was exactly my problem, Muffy--until I realized that my S, who was totally on board with this plan (same as yours), was not feeling bad at all. He had a lineup of OOS publics that offered exactly what he wanted, including good honors programs. It wasn't a letdown; he didn't feel like we were "shafting" him. And it helps that he's always been a kid who doesn't equate value with high cost. He loves his future university. I've stopped feeling bad. We need to get over our parental guilt (good post, Blossom).
There's a thread over on the Financial Aid board asking the very question that Curmudgeon warned against here. The delusions will continue. The swallows will return this time next year.