Do you have to give up a great college match in order to afford an undergraduate education? No, but you do need an action plan!
There are four primary variables for building affordability into your college search: a strong academic profile; a willingness to look outside of your region and to consider schools you might not have heard of; an understanding of which schools DO NOT provide merit money; and time to do your research well.
Academics front and center! Nothing replaces the importance of good grades in any admissions process, even if you have an outstanding talent. Grades aren’t where you’d like them to be? An upward trend is also important, as is making sure you are in the most challenging curriculum you can handle and that you are taking five solid academic classes each semester. Make the most of your testing opportunities by practicing and studying for the SAT and/or ACT exams. The stronger your academic profile, the more likely you will be to qualify for merit aid.