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There’s a lot of pressure to choose a college, and factoring in affordability makes things even more confusing. You might find yourself caught between your dream school that gives little to no financial aid or another school further down your list that’s more affordable. Here are reasons why you should choose the more affordable college:

1. Peace of mind

Transitioning to college already comes with its own stresses. For the sake of your mental health, choosing a cheaper school will keep you from stressing about finances both today and for years down the road. By choosing the affordable option, you will be able to enjoy more of the college experience because you won’t have to work 6 jobs to make ends meet. You’ll also be able to sleep better at night knowing you will have less student loan debt.

2. You will be able to spend your money on other activities

When you combine choosing the affordable option and working a job, you may find that you have a little extra money at the end of the day. You can put this towards something else like study abroad, graduate school, or your savings account!

3. You can get a head start on your career

When you are worried about money, you are going to spend your time finding a job to help you pay for school and life. This could mean turning down internships or other opportunities that may not pay super well. When you choose a school that’s more affordable, you can accept internships that will enhance your resume, provide you with experience, and give you an advantage in the job market.

4. There’s always grad school

If you also plan to go to grad school, this is another opportunity to attend your dream school. If your dream school remains the same throughout college, make it your goal to obtain a graduate assistantship or fellowship to offset the cost of tuition for your graduate degree. 

5. Don’t get caught up in the name game

It’s easy to get swept up in the “name game” when it comes to your college list. You may equate big name schools to academic prestige or athletic prowess, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to the best fit for you. Sometimes, you may find your fit with “under the radar” options that may come with a cheaper price tag. More on finding your college fit here. 

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you go to college. You do not need to attend a university with a big reputation to be successful. All schools have the ability to offer an enriching academic experience. In most cases, your education is what you make of it.