I would suggest that you find a not-for-profit financial advisor and ask for a professional opinion. My opinion is that consolidation through a federal program is a much better idea. I owe over $30k in student loans (I know, young and stupid) and pay $305 a month (scheduled for the next 20+ years). However, if you are still in school, you can go into a deferrment program that will either be interest free (while in school) or accrue interest while in deferrment. Once you finish school, there's a 3 or 6? (can't remember) month grace period before your payments start. And, those payments will start out based on your income and gradually increase based on your "expected financial growth." Personally, I'm still holding out for the government to open up more "forgiveness" programs--for example, there is a current program that allows some % of loans to be forgiven once payments have been made on time for 10 years for people who work in "service" jobs (e.g. for the government, teachers, fire & police, etc). Also, there are options for forebearance if you lose your job or have other hardships.
Finally, I know the feeling of wanting to get into a house of your own. It is harder now to get approved, but you have to look at the bigger picture and decide what's more important long-term. For example, I had bought a car many years ago and it broke down (dead transmission) less that 1 year later! Nobody (dealer, manufacturer, financing company) would help AT ALL. So, I towed the car to the dealer and left it for them to deal with (still owed almost $8k on it). 1 year later I was approved to purchase another vehicle, 4 years later bought a condo, and now (7 years later) am preapproved for my 2nd house! So, it may seem like FOREVER, but eventually everything will even out. And, contrary to what somebody said... Student Loans do NOT disappear with a bankruptcy!