The College Solutions Blog

Valuable insights from Lynn O’Shaughnessy
a nationally recognized college expert.

Featured image for “CollegeData:  Evaluating A College’s Financial Aid and Merit Scholarships”
July 11, 2022

CollegeData:  Evaluating A College’s Financial Aid and Merit Scholarships

How do you research financial aid and merit scholarships that a student might get at individual colleges and universities? With college sticker prices continuing to climb, it’s an important question to ask because the financial aid and merit award policies at schools will vary widely. Not knowing how to research the generosity or stinginess of individual colleges can cost you...
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April 22, 2013

Deciding Between College Prestige and Cost

Is it worth it to attend an expensive private university with a recognizable brand name if you have to borrow heavily? That was a question that a New York Times reporter tackled in an article on Saturday entitled  Measuring College Prestige vs. Cost of Enrollment. I wasn’t surprised that the article, which included a few observations from me, was the...
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April 4, 2012

What’s Wrong With College Dream Lists

I recently took a look at The Princeton Review’s latest lists of America’s most popular dream colleges and I immediately saw a problem. Before I explain why, check out the dream colleges that teenagers and parents cited most often. Teenagers’ Dream Colleges Stanford University Harvard University New York University Princeton University Massachusetts Institute of Technology Yale University UCLA University of...
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March 28, 2012

Financial Aid Bait and Switch?

When families look at financial aid packages they often assume that a school’s financial aid support will remain the same for four years. That, however, is a dangerous assumption to make. The financial support that some colleges and universities give students will shrink after their freshmen year. Bait and Switch? Why would this happen? I can’t speak for schools that...
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August 25, 2011

Looking Beyond Dream Schools for College

This week, I’ve been focusing on colleges and universities that are pricey. Here the the posts if you’ve missed them:  Is That Flagship Worth the Price? Attending Expensive East Coast Universities The majority of students limit their college choices to schools within two hours of driving distance, but those who want to look elsewhere tend to salivate over the same...
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August 23, 2011

Attending Expensive East Coast Universities

While I was in New York last week, I spent some time with families of students interested in majoring in the performing arts. The parents shared the same anxieties as the moms and dads of other college-bound teenagers. They wondered how they would pay for college. And the kids seemed preoccupied about how they could manage to sing or dance...
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August 5, 2011

Jumping Ship: The Hazards of Transferring to Another University

I got an email recently from a dad named George who shared the bad luck of a young woman who lost lots of college credits when she transferred from one four-year university to another.  His email is pertinent because many students end up hopping from one school to another.  In fact, I believe about one out of four students fall...
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February 8, 2011

When Your Dream School Costs Too Much

I’m resurrecting a college blog post that I wrote last spring because it’s going to be timely again when high school seniors begin getting their acceptance letters. We are approaching the time of year when parents agonize about sending their children off to expensive colleges and universities even if they can’t afford the price tag. When acceptances arrive, common sense...
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January 8, 2011

Do You Need to Go to Film School?

If you want to get into the movie industry, do you need to go to film school? That’s what I was wondering after two stressed dads, within the space a few days, emailed me about how they are going to pay for their teenagers’ dreams to attend a film school. Film schools tend to be located in extremely expensive universities...
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May 30, 2010

New York University: Tale of 2 Students

Today I’m going to use New York University as a punching bag. I’m going to use NYU to illustrate how too many well-meaning families muddle through the college process and end up looking for the most highly ranked colleges without considering the price. Some of these families end up like Cortney Munna, a 26-year-old woman, who is facing nearly $100,000...
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