Should I even bother applying to colleges I don’t think I can afford?
Absolutely. Remember that after financial aid packages are determined, most students will pay less than the "sticker price" listed on the college website. You don’t know if you can afford a college until after you apply, are accepted, and find out how much aid that college will offer you (if you’re accepted). Fill out the FAFSA® as early as possible after October 1 to qualify for the most aid.
Even if the aid package the college offers is not enough, you have options . Many colleges are willing to work with students they have chosen for admission to ensure that those students can afford to attend.