First, congratulations on your graduation! Next, kudos for doing your homework as you consider how such a change to your credit report might impact your FICO® score. Being proactive about your credit is the way to begin making smart financial decisions that will give you a solid foundation for years to come.
What should I be concerned about when it comes to consolidating student loans?
To protect your FICO score when consolidating debt, your main concern should be whether the consolidated loan will be established as a "new" loan, or simply an adjustment to one of your existing loans. A new loan appearing on your credit report with a recent date of opening can cause your FICO score to drop slightly. The good news is that if this happens your score can recover within a short period of time if current payments are being made on all accounts, credit card balances don't increase, and no other new accounts are opened. If, on the other hand, your consolidated loan amount is transferred to an existing account, there should be very little, if any, negative impact to your FICO score.
With FICO® Standard you get:
Your FICO® score from your choice of Equifax or TransUnion. You'll get a full explanation of your FICO score as well as factors causing your score to be what it is. FICO Standard also provides you with a view of how lenders see your specific FICO score when making lending decisions.
Your credit report from your choice of Equifax or TransUnion. Each credit report contains information on your credit accounts, a listing of those companies accessing your credit file and more. We'll also flag any accounts that are hurting your FICO® score.
The FICO® score simulator which analyzes your personal credit information and can help you understand the impact of any of your future actions such as paying off a credit card or opening a new account.