Neither you nor your parents will be able to ignore the fact that some colleges (including Princeton) are more expensive than others. Nonetheless, I don’t think it is wise to cross any college off your list just because it appears to cost a small fortune to attend. In the first place, while we all know that cost is not a perfect indicator of quality, it is also true that a first-rate college education does not come cheaply. Secondly, a number of colleges and universities (including Princeton) make their admissions decisions completely without regard to whether applicants will need financial aid. Moreover, I think you are likely to find that, as a general rule, schools like Princeton have some of the most comprehensive and best-funded financial aid programs in the country. Keep in mind, first, that you can always turn down a college’s offer of admission should the amount of financial aid it awards you appear inadequate and, second, that deciding not to apply is the one sure way to not gain admission and not be offered financial.
My next post will discuss applications from the applicant’s perspective. That post will be followed by one on applications from the college’s perspective.