I am a senior in highschool who (surprise) loves physics, and plans on majoring and eventually getting a PhD in it (hopefully). I am currently looking at my college prospects and have a couple of questions. My situation comes down to this- I'm pretty sure I can get into numerous fairly good schools like UW Madison etc. The problem is, I live in Kansas so I will be paying out of state tuition for any of those schools, and my family's financial situation is such that I may not be able to afford to go to them without going into major debt. So, here are my questions- 1. Would it be worth it to go to a good school like Wisconsin even if it leaves me with a big debt? 2. If it is financially difficult/impossible/unadvisable to go to those schools, would going to an in state school like Kansas State or the University of Kansas for my undergrad be bad? (Would it prevent me from getting into a good graduate school?) 3. I tend to feel that if I cannot afford the best colleges I can get into (like Wisconsin), that I would rather stay close to home and go to K-State or KU rather than travel far and spend more (as it seems I am likely to get most of KU/KState payed for if I go there) for an only slightly better college (aka middle of the road schools)- is this a foolish mentality? Now normally, I would think it would be worth it to go to a good school like Wisconsin, assuming I get in, even if I end up with a large debt. However, one of my cousins did so (He went to Oregon) and ended up with ridiculus debt, and he advises that staying in state is best. But you see, he is a lawyer, not a scientist. I'm not sure it's the same. I suppose that my questions can loosely be summed up as this- How important (when pursuing physics) is going to a top notch school for your undergraduate degree? Sorry for the length of the post, and any replies are very much appreciated.