There is no question that it is more expensive than ever to go to college. However, going to college is still one of the best investments that you can make in yourself and in your future. After all, generally speaking, college graduates earn significantly more than people who do not go to college. But of course attending college is about so much more than just increasing your earning potential. It is also about having a great experience, both socially and intellectually.

For starters, don't rule out the idea of going to community college and/or state college. Some people decide that they only want to go to expensive private colleges and they just can't shake that idea no matter what. The problem with that plan is that unless you are independently wealthy, you run the risk of accumulating enormous student loans. To save money but still get your BA, consider going to community college for two years and finishing up at a reputable state college or university.

Similarly, you may want to consider investigating some of the more reputable online colleges. To be fair, online colleges are still relatively new, and not everyone respects them. But they are improving all the time, and distance learning does seem to be the wave of the future. You can always start out at an online college (just as some people start out at community college) and then transfer to a more "traditional" college for your last couple of years.

By the same token, if you are a senior in high school who has the option of taking one or more A.P. (Advanced Placement) classes, this can save you (and/or your parents) some money, while simultaneously preparing you ahead of time for what your college professors are going to expect of you.

If you start out at one college and it turns out not to be a great fit for you for any number of different reasons, don't despair! Many people end up transferring to a different college after one or two years. It can be difficult to know which school is right for you when you are 18. For example, as an incoming freshman, you may think you want to go to a small liberal arts school, but by the end of your first year you may be drawn to the idea of going to a much larger school instead. Change, while a bit scary, can sometimes be a very good thing, especially where college is concerned.