"But my daughter doesn't WANT to go the Saddleback!"
Such a familiar quote this time of year.
Here is a typical scenario that we see every year at this time: High-achieving student gets into some great schools, but because the family didn't plan, they find that none of these schools are affordable. So this is the plan...the dangling carrot per se...
It doesn't matter where a student STARTS college—heck, 30% don't return to the same campus as a sophomore. And by the time the average college student gets their degree, they have been to three colleges. What matters is where they graduate.
So if Pepperdine or USC isn't affordable this year, even though the financial aid is not as strong for transfer students, your child can go to IVC or another community college for 1-2 years, build up confidence, general ed course units, and transfer into their dream school and STILL graduate before their peers going to public college.
Also, private colleges have much stronger career advising than the publics, simply as a matter of financial resources available.
To start at Pepperdine now, run out of money, and then have to live home to pay off debt is a lot less desirable than starting at a community college now, working to save up $$, and when you transfer to the school of your dreams, your child will be more mature, focused, and have less debt.