Most people who look back to their college days – whether those days are months, years, or decades in the past – have mostly fond memories. There were a lot of good times partying, making new friends, and having new experiences.Interlaced with all of those good times was a lot of work. Long hours in the library, dorm room, or rented apartment were required to make the grade. There was also another kind of work, which had to do with making the right decisions about your coursework and area of focus for your studies.And, there was always that lurking financial challenge of who was going to pay for all of this, and how. Every college student knows at the back of his or her mind that their education is not free. Your education had to be paid for, either through grants, scholarships, parents’ money, working through college, or student loans.For most students, getting through college financially required a combination of one or more of these methods of paying for it. And, for most, student loans played a starring role.Students who took out multiple student loans in college may now have trouble making the monthly payments. Having multiple loans usually means that monthly payments easily run into the hundreds of dollars. This debt burden can place heavy demands on your cash flow.One solution to reduce payments is to consolidate your student loans. Consolidating can allow the borrower to stretch his or her payments out over a longer period of time. In some cases, it can also allow you to qualify for a reduced interest rate. Both of these factors can lead to an immediate reduction in monthly payments, making them more manageable.When Private Student Loan Consolidation Is RecommendedIf you have private student loans, you should pursue consolidation through a private lender – which is usually a bank. You should consolidate if you would like to reduce your monthly payments by stretching out the loan over more time – even if in so doing you end up taking on a more costly loan (since interest will be paid over more years and interest costs therefore will go up).Also, if you believe your current credit score is better than it was when you took out your loans, you may qualify for a better interest rate now.Student Loan Consolidation: Loan Information and TipsIf you believe consolidation is right for you, here are some tips on how to get the best rate:1. Create a list of multiple consolidation lenders:If you are going to go through with consolidation, it will benefit you greatly to spend the time to research at least 3-5 lenders who specialize in consolidating student loans. Competition in the free market is always a good thing (as you probably learned in Macro Economics 101), and getting multiple quotes is almost sure to land you an offer for a lower rate.2. Decide your ideal repayment period:If being able to make your payments were not an issue at all, then you would ideally want the shortest-possible repayment period. That is because shorter repayment periods always translate to cheaper loans. Of course, since payments are one of the main reasons you are consolidating, you may want to go for the maximum terms of 25-30 years (depending upon the lender). This will ensure you get the lowest payments.3. Apply:As they say in the business world: execute, execute, execute. You need to not only list up those lenders, but actually follow through in applying to all of them. You will be tempted to accept the first offer that comes along: do not make that mistake. Wait for all of the offers to come in before deciding.Follow these 3 tips to get the lowest rates on your consolidation.