Be more positive about the college experience. It's not a obstacle to overcome, it's a brilliant opportunity to make new friends, learn from amazing professors, try new things, and develop as a person. College is about planning, making decisions, and putting foward a best effort, but it is also about seizing opportunities, letting things happen as they may, and learning about yourself and others. It is the time to figure out your interests. Be open to the unexpected and take chances.
Don't limit your child (or yourself) to an in-state school. If you or your child want to go out-of-state for college, maintain high grades, take risks, and especially be active at your high school. Even for in-state schools, be active. Many state schools (and also ivy leagues and other private colleges) are cracking the whip down on the admitted students. Being active in high school is almost becoming more important than grades. Getting things done early is also highly recommended.
When you apply to colleges, apply to the ones that you genuinely have an interest in. Don't base it on cost or rank -- base it on a fantastic writing program or amazing professors because in the end, that's what really matters. When I was applying to schools, I picked my schools based upon which school was the best and not really, the one that I wanted to go to the most and I felt that swayed my final decision. I was lucky that I ended up at a school I truly love.
It is very important that a student visits the college before deciding because it will tell him or her about the culture there. Sometimes, one night's visit is not enough, they should go for open campus programs. Academics are important and quality of undergraduate education will help in post-graduation job search. However, one should not attend a school just because of academics.
I would say to trust your instincts. Figure out if you want to be in a city or a suburb because that decision changes the entire dynamic of the college and its experience. In addition, the size would be another key component I think both should take into consideration. Try to pinpoint what means most to you in your life and match that to the college's aims and reputations.
Be yourself. Don't worry about who your parents want you to be, or even who you should be. If you just let life happen, meet new people, and live the experience, you will have a greater understanding of who you are. Also, don't give up on making friends just because orientation ends. Keep a positive attitude the whole year, and new friends will flock to you!
As a Christian, i would definitely pray about it. I would consult the people that know me best. I advise being open-minded yet intentionally aware. the decisions that you make in these 4 years affect your socio-economic class, your social skills...I would advise students to choose a school that would help you become who you want to be.
Try everything and anything! Once you pick your school, make the most of it. Go and take classes you're interested in, meet random people, go out and see the city--college is supposed to expand your understanding about the world, if you don't actively engage in it, you'll walk away with regrets.
I would tell myself to apply for colleges earlier and apply for more scholarships. However, I do not believe that there is anything I would do differently to prepare myself for college- I had good study habits and was involved in a lot of stuff my senior year as well.
Do not select a school based upon rankings, but rather one for personal growth in addition to academic growth. In relation to personal growth, I mean a school that will challenge your personal beliefs, identity, ethnicity, and etc