Really try to be more spontaneous, especially when it comes to meeting new people. It's incredibly hard to meet a new group of friends far away from your home and different than your former social group but th easiest way is to just try out all the different activities you can; it's fine if plenty of them don't work out or you don't like them in the longer run. It's better to try these things while you stilll can rather than always wonder about them, especially with groups and social activities that are unique to the college setting. Just open up and accept things as they are and it'll all work out in the long run.
Visit each college and pay close attention to the information sessions run by students. There will be a "typical" student that goes to each school, no matter how diverse the college or university. Go to the school that matches most accurately your personality to that "typical" student. Or at least consider that you may become more like that "typical" student during your four years at the school, so choose a college in which you respect and would not mind being like the type of students that are alumnae from that school. And good luck! Remember that it is supposed to be a fun process, and trust your instincts!
In all seriousness, as cliche as it sounds, I would tell students to find a place where they feel at home. However, I would also tell them that this "home" shouldn't be too comfortable. College students should be challenging themselves and stepping outside of the box, as well as their individual comfort zones, while, at the same time, placing themselves in an institution where they feel included. For parents, I would say to really try their best to let their child make the decision. Although it's coming from your pocketbook, your child is the one who has to live with the decision, not you.
The brand name of the college does not nearly matter enough as the people and the environment of the college. Even if you work so hard to get into the school of your dreams, if you don't have any chemistry or friends at that college, you're paying for four years of mediocrity. Of course everyone wants to go to an famous college but keep in mind: Each student body is different, and these are the people you will be surrounded by for the rest of your college career. Choose wisely. College is more than just academics, so your choice should be based on more than just numbers and grades.
I had a hard time letting go of high school so I would advise myself to realize that although college is different because you're not with all your friends, have an open mind because it's an incredible time. Also, be prepared to have to spend a lot more time studying and working on assignments outside of class. There are thousands of opportunities to try new things at school so take advantage of each and every one of them, however keep in mind that academics must come first. In addition, take time to make good friends because developing substantial relationships is important.
My biggest word of advice to students about finding the right college is that you will know when you find your best fit. Though my college was not my first choice initially, I knew that it was were I belonged and where I would thrive. Parents need to set aside their own agendas of prestige or rankings of colleges and let their student pick the best place for them. As for making the most out of college, you need to get involved. You then feel like you are a part of the university, and you can build long-lasting relationships with those who have simialr interests or views.
Parents let your children decide whats best for them, do not force your opinions about what school your children should go to, what they should major in, what activities they should participate in. College is a fantastic time to find oneself and it goes by so quickly. You have an opportunity to grow up and learn about so much of the world through class and just interacting with so many different people. Students take advantage of everything around you at your respective schools, as it truly is one of the greatest times of your life!
Find someone who you know who went to the school and ask them all the hard questions especially about the social life and the administration. I've found that people who went to my High School who ask me questions apperciate the responses and I know I can be honest with them. From the group of colleges I selected to visit, the tours all ran together in my mind, but the personality of the tour guides and the people I know who went to those schools stuck out in my mind. I'm an unsual person at my school and It's both good and bad.
While applying, don't focus on garnering prestige of a brand-name college. Visit the campus, talk with upperclassmen, get a feel of the campus lifestyle, the academic intensity, then you decide whether or not you want to attend. When you do arrive for freshman year, participate in different activities. Attend those freshmen welcome events, attend those general meetings for clubs, but all the while, learn how to achieve a work-play balance. Make the most out of these four years but don't forget that there is life after college.
If i were still a high school senior, I would tell myself many things before making a college choice. First, to make sure and live in the moment and enjoy high school because you'll miss it once you go to college. Also, no one ever told me how hard of an adjustment it would be to go to a college where I knew no one. I wish that somebody would say that going to a college far away from home would be hard and you may not like it your first year. Also, I wish somebody would have told me to make sure you study A LOT of tests.