Choosing between your top school and top financial school...

<p>I have been narrowing down my college search and I have my top two. I want to pick one to Early Decision to because it will boost my chances of getting it. I fell in love with Connecticut College and can see myself going there so clearly. I also like Colby College a lot but I think CC has the definite edge. The only catch is the money. My parents will basically be paying the same amount in tuition at both schools but Colby has replaced their student loans with grants so I wouldn't come out of school with a ton of debt. I would leave Conn Coll with about $25,000 to pay off. I am torn on what to do. Do I go with the school I fell in love with and pay the extra money? Or, ED to the school that is more financially practical but I don't LOVE? I am torn and would love some advice. Anyone in a similar situation?</p>

<p>It is almost always a better choice to go to the school that won't leave you knee-deep in debt. Student debt is almost always toxic; unless you plan on going into a major which has excellent career prospects or are guaranteed a lucrative job after graduation, it is always a better idea to leave owing no money. $25,000 is a lot, especially if you plan or think you may plan in the future to go to graduate school.</p>

<p>I know in the end I could be happy at either school and being debt-free would be amazing but I just keep going back to CC. I don't know what it is.</p>

<p>How do you know for sure what you will receive? Does either school guarantee to meet full financial need? And remember that need is how it is defined by the school, not by you. So it is possible the school might not give you loans....it might just gap you instead. Talk to the financial aid offices of both schools and use their aid estimators on line if you can, and have your parents run the numbers with you.</p>

<p>Both are terrific schools so you can't go wrong between them.</p>

<p>$25K is under the total Stafford amount and can be handled. If the FA from CC doesn't come out to what your family can afford then you can deny it.</p>

<p>When I was in high school, Chicago was by far my top choice. It gave me incredibly bad financial aid, however, so I wound up choosing a college that is in many ways a polar opposite of Chicago. Though freshman year was a bit of an adjustment, I ended up loving it and had to be practically dragged out come graduation. </p>

<p>Most people bloom where they're planted. Colby is a GREAT school, and no debt is significantly better than $25K.</p>

<p>Don't do ED if you're not 100% sure. The slight admissions boost isn't worth getting locked into a bad deal or changing your mind.</p>

<p>Go to Colby.</p>

<p>Fully agree with warbler- happiness can be found and created if you choose to be happy. While I do believe in "best fit", I also believe"best fit" can be misleading and many people can be happy and indeed thrive in multiple locations. Colby is a top notch education. Debt free with a great college education is hard to argue with.</p>

<p>If someone handed you $25K right after you graduated what would you do with the money? Buy a car, get settled into your new adult life, get started on a down payment for a home. These are questions you could also ask yourself. That is what your savings will allow you- choices!</p>

<p>^ Except that $25K is not available right at graduation. That same $25K to pay off a Stafford would take 10 years to save.</p>

<p>But if you aren't paying down those Stafford Loans, you may actually be able to save up the money! Given the way that interest works, a graduate would have $25,000 in savings well before he/she would be shed of the Staffords.</p>

<p>^ And that's the point. $25K is not over doing a loan amount.</p>

<p>No, no one is handing the $25K to you upon graduation. The point was rather to illuminate the choices that we have or do not have when we are saddled with debt. Would any dreams or goals be put off in order to pay the debt off? I know many who had to put off a home, newer car, grad school or even marriage.</p>