Have an idea of what you want to study, and make sure their department for that major is strong. Get an idea of the social life and lifestyles of the students before you decide, and make sure it agrees with what you want your life to be like. It is an important four years of your life, so even if you save a few thousand dollars at one school, it may not be worth it.
Make sure that you visit all of the campuses that you are applying to and try to maybe have the student stay with someone who currently goes to that school to get the full experience. I am happy with my experience at my school but I found that if I had actually visited another campus and seen the atmosphere there I probably would have attended that school instead.
Find a college that you feel is right. Try new things and take risks. Meet new people - you never know if you are going to meet your future husband or future bridesmaid. Take advantage of what the college offers - abroad oppourtunities especially. Make sure you acquire a balance between social life and academics; that is the key part of succeeding in college.
Always do something you like. Don't go looking for a program just to try to get a steady job when you're done. Do your research and go to open houses/campus visits. Finding a program that suits you personally is going to make a career very easy and the truth is, you'll enjoy it too. And with both of those things, you're bound to live a happy life.
The biggest advice that I would give myself is to simply not be afraid. I would tell myself to be outgoing because everyone going away to college is feeling the same feelings, nervous, excited, anxious. The first few weeks is where you will probably make friends that are going to last a lifetime. So don't be afraid; be outgoing, go for it!
I would tell myself that you need to wake up and start taking your classes and your school work seriously because nobody is going to care if you flunk out; college has a very real impact on your career moving forward and the decisions that you make now will have consequences, both positive and negative, in the future.
I encourage parents and students to visit the college a few times before making the final decision. It is important to meet the teachers, sit in on a class lecture and meet the students. College experience is what you make of it, but it is often hard to understand and adjust to college life without prior experience.
Do not be scared. Don't hold yourself back from doing what you like in fear of failure. You can handle a big school and the work load. save your money and be prepared to enjoy yourself. Take time to think about what you are interested in because there are certainly going to be opportunities to get involved.
I'd go back and say that I'm on the right path. I have made wise choices so far, and I don't want to change anything. I have made awesome friends, with a healthy lifestyle that is drug and alcohol free. I would tell myself to keep up the good job of not giving in to peer pressure. Everyone is alright with it.
I would tell myself to relax, you made the best decision of your life! You just need to be confident when getting to school and don't worry about making friends; they will come to you. Also I would say to keep studying like you did in High School and you will be just fine and even stay on the Dean's List!