Decisions are out, and those financial aid packages should be a-rollin’ in! Hopefully they’ll all be to your liking, of course, but if not, TP’s still got you covered (check out this recent article on how to know if you should appeal your FA package). I mean, real talk, TP’s always got you covered. But just to prove it, here’s another really important got-you-covered tip for financial aid etiquette by the TP pros: don’t talk about your financial aid package with your friends. Really. Never ever ever. Just don’t. Unless you all are ridiculously mature, it’s just a bad idea. Even if you all are ridiculously mature, money can get in between the strongest friendships, and you don’t want that. College is already separating you all physically; don’t let it separate you all emotionally, too.
If you have a great financial aid package, good for you! Celebration is definitely called for. However, keep in mind that your friends may not — and probably don’t — have the same financial situation as you do. They may have to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars more than you for their education, and just because you’re friends doesn’t mean they won’t get at least the tiniest bit bitter (especially if their parents aren’t helping them fund their education). Unfortunately, sometimes money brings out the worst in people, and it might bring out the hidden problems in an otherwise solid friendship.
On the other hand, if you have a horrible financial aid package, please don’t complain about it to your friends. Maybe once you can, if they’re good friends and they’re willing to hear about how your top choice college gave you quite literally zero grants, or maybe you’re all complaining about your similar let-downs together. But after that, it’s just not cool. Complaining is annoying, especially when it’s the same thing over and over and over again. College is ridiculously expensive; we get it. We’re all riding in that same struggle bus. But keep your complaints to your parents or maybe your guidance counselor: people who might actually be able to help you do something productive about it (something like appealing your package). You’re leaving soon, so let’s end on a good note — not ending up as that “one friend” who wasn’t fun to hang out with anymore because all they could do was complain about how many loans they had to take out.
If you do want to complain — whether about financial aid packages, actual college admissions decisions, or just the latest thing that made you upset, here are some options:
1. College Confidential. This site is full of bitter students. Honestly, if you have no reservations about being one of those trolls, have a blast. Everyone takes everything on CC with a grain of salt anyway (or if they don’t… they really should). This is the perfect place to complain as much as you want about college decisions, financial aid, or anything of the sort. Oh hey! It’s also an option as a place to get advice — although, again, take it with a grain of salt.
2. Write a fake letter to the less-than-generous college or university. Here’s a pretty funny letter that has to do with being rejected for an assistant professor position. Take inspiration. You can make it into something funny and vent that way, or, if you’re a more serious person, write an angry fake letter to the school, too. Just don’t send it. Being rescinded is more possible than you might like to think. Although, I guess if you can’t afford to attend the school, you might not care if you get rescinded after all (insert sad face here).
3. Tumblr. As most of you probably know, there is a huge community of appblrs on Tumblr. You could write a post to vent if it’s a more personal blog; you could complain a bit to your online friend who lives across the country and wouldn’t have to deal with your complaining every day at high school; you could just creep on the #rejected tag and feel better about your own acceptances. Anything works. Going back to the College Confidential option as well, the Internet is a huge, beautiful thing. You can find places to vent pretty much anywhere (although I don’t advise Facebook, because that’s almost just as annoying as in-person constant complaining for your friends).
Whether you’re happy with your financial aid package or not, just be respectful of other people’s feelings. Worries about money or celebrations about money are all valid; money is indeed important. But it’s definitely not another thing you want to strain your friendships. Just keep college decisions and financial aid packages out of your daily friendly discussions. It’s hard to do, but it’s for the best.