I have gotten a new sense of responsibility from my college experience. College is very different from high school, there isn't anyone there telling you that you have to attend class every day. College is also a lot more expensive than high school. It is very important to attend college to understand what it's like to be a grown up. If I wasn't enrolled in college, I wouldn't have any idea just how hard life can be at times. Attending college is more important than ever right now due to the economy. There aren't many jobs available nation wide, but they seem slightly more attainable with a college degree.
Look at a lot of different schools. Don't limit yourself to the nicest campus in the best area. Your program is the most important feature to look for in a school. Consider which school will best accommodate you and your needs; you are going to be paying them 60k + over the next four or five years, so be as picky as you want! Do not settle for less than you had originally planned. It can be hard at first, but don't let where your friends are going be the determining factor in where you want to go to school. Your college friends are likely to be the ones that last!
Do not procrastinate! You should make a checklist of everything you need to hand in before school starts. This includes FAFSA, payments, housing, etc. Also fill numerous of scholarship applications. The amount shouldn't matter; every bit counts. If you have a job, save money. Try to buy items you may need for school or your dorm. Also keep track of all the deadlines. Turn everything in on time. One last advice is, select the best college for yourself. Visit all the colleges you are interested in and pick the one you are most comfortable with.
College costs a lot of money. Make sure that your money will be well spent. Don't go to a college that is going to provide an atmosphere that you don't want to be around for 4+ years, because many places can seem wonderful for the first year and then get tiresome shortly thereafter. Most schools are pretty open about the environment they try to provide for their students. Whether it be a very academically-focused or a very social life-focused school or any other, make sure you are going to where you want to be for 4+ years.
I got the degree I needed to continue my education. I also found it quite valuable to leave home and move far away, giving myself a chance to develop in a new social realm. Even more important than the classroom lessons were the lessons I learned about myself. I was able to learn what I wanted to keep from my upbringing, and what new perspectives I wished to incorporate. Ultimately, "going away to college " allowed me to examine myself and my beliefs, and develop my own worldview with which to enter my adult life.
I would suggest that parents and students ltogether look closely at every area of the school, not just the areas they like at orientation, but look at every aspect, from the meal plan to the parking plan. Also, look into how much the school works with the students and ask around for what current students do not like about the school, that way every aspect can be considered. Colleges and universities can be a lot of money so make sure it is a school that you love and respect.
research and visit the colleges you think you might be interested. Stay over night if possible when you visit. Get to know the area surrounding the colleges so you can get a grasp of what is available, lifestyle, etc. Once you're in, reach out. Do things you may not have before. Look for quality relationships that will last. And although initially you are there for school, don't forget to have fun once in a while.
Always put your best effort into everything that you do. Be aware of how you manage your time and be prepared to put in many hours into studying. You can't be completely dependent on your family to motivate you to get things done. Get involved in extra-curricular activities. Don't let people's opinions or unbelief in what you are capable of doing get in the way of pursuing what you want.
I would tell myself to keep pushing through and keep the grades higher than they were, even though they were not bad. I would remind myself how much college would be and just to really try my hardest to get the best grades that I possibly could. And to have fun in college and work hard, but relax sometimes, you won't be able to do everything you want to but enjoy the time!
Pick a school that fits you. Make sure to look at rules and guidelines because you aren't just signing up for a program, you are joining a community and communitues have rules. Some rules you may agree with and some you may not, just be sure to look at them all. Most importantly go someplace that you want to go and that has a program that you are passionate about.