First off, trust your instincts. When you visit the school that is right for you , you'll know it. The decision is scary, but it's totally worth it. When making the choice of which college to attend, think about your values and morals. Think about what you really want, and what you need to get back from the school you attend. Also think about what you can give back to that school in return. Make this decision for you. Do not make it based on where your parents want you to go, or where your friends are going to school. This decision is about what is right for you.
Attending college has made me feel like a better example to my children. I dropped out of high school to raise them and it makes me happy to be able to show them a better outlook on education. I have also become a much more self-confident, not only in my school work but also in everyday life. While attending college I have met many interesting people and made many new friends. Going back to school after twelve years has been challenging but I have enjoyed it for the most part. I do, however, look forward to getting some sleep after I graduate.
My advice is to be positively relentless. If you're going to dedicate the next two or four-years to an institution, be certain that it shares your subset of values. You should always try to read the campus newspaper to see for yourself what life there is truly like behind the brochures. Furthermore, do a Google search and see what dirt you can dig up about your prospective college that they aren't telling youn on their Web site. Even though I'd reconsider my choice of Marist today, I don't regret finding friends that made it bearable.
Find a place that fits your personality. Would you prefer to be in a city or a suburb? Do you want a huge party school or no alcohol pressures at all? Would you want to be able to walk to all your classes or do you prefer a bus/subway/etc? Narrow down your preferences and you will find the place for you. Once you visit the right school, it will click and you will know that you belong there. Tour during nice weather and take a tour more than once. This is a big decision and you should take it seriously.
Marist was a small school that prepared me well for my time at UMass Amherst. However I did not feel that I could go far enough with my major in Biology. Marist allowed me to select two minors (Business and Environmental Science). With my background in a broad range of sciences and in business, I was well prepared to enter UMass as a student in the field of water resource management. I am truly excited to be on this journey to make myself a more rounded and ecologically minded individual!
I would first tell myself to take more AP classes in high school. You don't realize this but AP classes really do help and give you a grasp of how a college class runs. Also, if you pass the placement test you get those credits so you can focus more on your major. I would also tell myself to stay at school as much as you can to really make lasting friendships, get involved in your school, and get the most of of your four years of college because they go by extremely fast!
Figure out if you want to go to a big, small, or medium size school. Then figure out where in the country or outside the country you want to go. Next figure out what type of majors you are thinking about. Run a search for colleges on collegeboard.com. Figure out what you can afford. narrow down your list to a few colleges and go visit them. Make sure that you me the entrance requirements. Find out what extracurricular activities the school offers.
Look for a school that meets your needs. Evaluate whether you like a large campus, small, city, urban, or rual environment. Do you want a large or small student population. Find the school that excells at your areas of interest. Does the school provide you out of class room activitites that will enrich your education. Don't be hung up with "name" schools. Almost any school, where you apply yourself will give you the education you want.
If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior I would advise to enjoy the present time. College can be stressful when you have to make a decision on what you are "supposed" to do the rest of your life, and I would tell myself not to worry and that everything will work out in the end. College is all about finding yourself and enjoying your youth. I would tell my high school self to focus on enjoying the little things in life.
I would tell myself to not stress so much about what people think. I spent so much time trying to please my parents, my friends from high school, and my new friends in college. I would tell myself to be open and friendly. Do not worry what people say about you because their words are useless. I would tell myself to re-consider playing a college sport. I would summarize my advice in a simple phrase: be confident, be strong, be yourself.