In my experience do your homework in regard to the area, and what the school has to offer your student. If your student applies for FAFSA early, and financial aid is approved all the better. To make the most of your college experience research class options. Here at OSU there are a great quantity of diverse options. There is an abundance of degree choices, with great breadth and depth. Be sure to find out if the college offers a great deal of hands-on, and internship studies. I find this particularily helpful.
In finding the right college you need to find a place that you can see yourself living in pretty much full time in for the next four years. This place needs to be somewhere where you can have fun when it is needed but also where you can get work done most of the time. Another thing you should look for in a school is somewhere that isn't to far away from home because you will get homesick a few times over the years, and there are always things that pop up and it is nice to be able to go home if you need to.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to apply for as many scholarships as I can, because college is even more expensive than it already appears to be. I would also start getting rid of unnecessary possesions during senior year to make the move easier at the end of the summer before your freshman year at college. Also very important is to go shopping for college supplies in the winter of your senior year- beat the rush of the summer college dorm room and supplies sales, when prices go way up.
From experience the best advice I can give freshman about finding the right college and making the most of the experience is don't sweat the small stuff. Don't be afraid to take out a loan. I tried to work too much and ended up working myself to death between school and work; I ended up missing out on all the things I was excited for most about college. Stressing out to much ruined my first year. Things happen, just learn to roll with the punches and don't take the little things for granted.
I think hindsight makes the best guidance counselor. If I could return to a younger me, I would say three things. My first advice would be to really get to know myself, and the true extent of my opportunities, by trying the things I was afraid of doing, or thought I could not accomplish. I would say to do this regardless of the anxiety or fear I felt about them. My third parcel of advice would be to realize that today, not yesterday, is the first day I have the opportunity to make a change.
There are a lot of money out there, in the form of aid and scholarship. So parents and students, applying or currently enrolled, do not need to worry and set that as a reason not to apply to a certain school. Do not underestimate yourself. If you apply to a school where you want to go, your academics as well as social life would be better than going to a school where you ended up cause of money issues. Once on campus, join clubs, greek life, intermaural sports, the gym as well as events/shows.
I would tell myself to embrace fear. There are so many people who make decisions based in fear and I would never want to live my life that way. Once you overcome the discomfort of doing things you fear the most you will be truly free. There is nothing in your life that you cannot accomplish if you stare your fears in the face and challenge them. If you fail, great. It will show you that you can fail and still live to learn and grow from it. In short, high school self, do what you fear.
I would say don't stress on big projects, but get a head start on the work and chip away at it. That will minimize the stress and let you spread your work out so that you can take on more responsibilities and activities. Make sure that you put all of the due dates for assignment and dates for midterms and finals on your calendar and never skip class. EVER. Get involved on campus as soon as possible, be nice to your RAs, and have fun. Just not too much that your grades start to suffer.
Work hard, this is nothing, wait until you have to pull all nighters, while being sick. You will have fun, you will meet new friends. Things will always get better, no matter the problem. You may have to retake a class or two, it sucks but don't sweat it. You will work hard, you will be supported, and you will be fine. I promise, I'm doing it right now. I am working hard to get the grades I want and the future I need. You can do this. You will be successful, all you have to do is try.
Don't let yourself fall behind, stay on top of everything. It's best to get everything done earlier and have time to go back and check your work. When things get difficult, don't let your self give up. Don't get discouraged it is overwhelming at first, but it will be worth it in the end. Get help the minute you feel like you are falling behind, because it is nearly impossible to ever catch back up. Balance school work and fun, don't just study all the time get out and socialize.