The following is an excerpt from " Road to Investing ," a blog by Motley Fool employee Angela Galper (TMFDataPrincess). She works as a database administrator in the Fool's technology department.

I should be feeling nothing but pride in my son right now. Last summer, I got him working on his college essay and applications, and by Nov. 1 he had submitted everything, including a few early decisions and one early action.

All of his choices were small private liberal arts colleges with low faculty-to-student ratios. We had pretty much written off our state universities because all the really good ones have quotas for in-state, out-of-state, and rest-of-the-state applicants, which make them way too competitive for a B student in search of an A+ education.

Last week, the acceptance letters started rolling in, and much to our surprise, he was accepted by his top three choices. My husband and I slumped in our chairs after a very lively family dinner that evening, stared into the empty bottle of wine, and then asked each other, "Now how are we going to pay for this?"

Among the three most attractive acceptances are one up-and-coming college that offered a significant merit scholarship, and two much better schools with much higher price tags. As we prepare to fill out the FAFSA forms next week to see what sort of aid or merit award he might receive, we're trying to remain committed to the idea that cost should not dictate choice when all other things are not equal.

We haven't sought a lot of advice just yet, but at a few college open houses we have heard suggestions for student loans, home equity loans, and monthly payment plans. We have been good, but not great, at contributing to his 529 savings account (we have been busy catching up on our 401(k) savings). What things have you had to do and what decisions have you had to make in order for your kids to go to the college of their choice?

The user miteycasey responded: "Don't sell your retirement short. You only have ~20 years while your child has ~50 to pay off his loans."

The user JaysRage responded: "Why should cost not partially dictate choice? An education is an investment."

Do you have any advice for TMFDataPrincess? Comment in the box below. 

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