I wish I had heard of the concept of student loan consolidation when I was a student. I was so worried about my debt, I worked my butt off at part time jobs and campus jobs. It did not even occur to me to look for a private loan. It was very difficult for me to work so hard and attend college at the same time.
If I was going to give advice to anyone considering becoming a student, I would say to start making decisions about how to pay for the education at the same time, if not before, you have started looking at colleges.
There are a lot of options when it comes to student loans for those of us who can not have parental financial support.