DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who is frustrated with her college situation. We live in an affluent neighborhood, and most kids go to private schools. Although they are well-off, her family does not have the means to pay a hefty tuition. Unfortunately, she feels as if some of her more affordable options force her to compromise on what she is looking for in a school. For example, many of the state schools are too big and do not provide an intimate learning environment, while others do not appeal to her preferred social expectations. She is toying with the idea of taking out loans so that she might have a more holistic college experience, yet she fears having tens of thousands of dollars of debt upon graduation, especially because we cannot foresee what the job market will look like. Should she strive for affordability or for the experience that she desires? -- Facing Choices, Cincinnati
DEAR FACING CHOICES: Suggest to your friend that she look into what scholarships may be available at the schools she likes. She can ask her guidance counselor to support her in this effort. There are countless scholarships out there for a host of reasons. Depending on her hobbies, family background, academic record or even quirky pursuits, there may be money out there that she can use to reduce what she has to pay for tuition. You can start your search with fastweb.com and scholarships.com. There are many more sites as well.
Another option that many students are choosing is going to a community college for the first two years and then transferring to a four-year college or university for the last two years. This can help defray costs as well.
DEAR HARRIETTE: When my ex and I broke up, it was really ugly although it was private. I acted stupid. He broke up with me, and I begged him not to leave. It was not a pretty picture. I have been doing better. I did not tell anybody the details of our breakup, but he did. One of our mutual friends came up to me at a party and recited everything that happened during our breakup. She was not mean about it; she just wanted to know how I was doing. It was embarrassing. I did not want to rehash that situation with her. I definitely do not want this to happen again. I want to call him and ask him to stop talking about it. What do you think? -- Embarrassed, Los Angeles
DEAR EMBARRASSED: Yes, you can call your ex and ask him not to continue sharing intimate details of your breakup with your mutual friends. Know that he may not have intended to embarrass you. When relationships end, people often need to talk about what happened and process their emotions. He may have been doing just that. What's tough is that his confidant is a shared friend.