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May 04, 2017 04:08 AM EDT

May 1, was the date when soon-to-be college students finally made one of the biggest decisions in their lives. Making a choice to go to college and another step closer towards the reality of their dreams is what May 1 for students is all about. After several months of the agonizing waiting period, high school seniors who will be or who have accepted their college acceptance letters are just about to face the real hard work.

According to The 74, May 1 is the date when millions of students across the US make the final choice for their college, but choosing a college is really going to be a crucial decision not only because it will shape the future of a student when it comes to the career they will have for the rest of their lives, but it is also going to be a question of how students and parents will be able to pay for their chosen college.

While many families fall into the debt trap just to be able to afford post-secondary education, here are the steps for students to better understand how their choices will impact their student loans, according to CNBC.

Know how much the school will cost

It is not hard to figure out how much the tuition and fees for the school will cost. Most schools have net price calculators to make it easier for parents and students to calculate how much they have to pay for after scholarships and grants.

Get as much free money as possible

Parents and students must completely understand how scholarships and grants differ from each other, and they should take time to ask the school about their displacement policy.

Weigh the best option

After the grants and scholarships, students and parents must determine the other best options to fill in the gap for college fees, whether it be savings, student loans or family income. For most students, federal student loans are the most affordable.

See Now: Facebook will use AI to detect users with suicidal thoughts and prevent suicide

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