Choosing a college could be stressful if you have not planned it ahead of time. Visiting the colleges you are interested in may help in the process. As much as possible you should make it a point to visit at least two or three of the colleges you are most interested in. The first place to start when thinking about college is looking inside yourself and trying to find a college that matches that. For starters, outline your educational interests and major choices. By knowing what you want to study, it is easy to hone in on the colleges that specialize in your area of interest. For example, if you are interested in becoming an engineer you should probably be looking into engineering specific schools such as MIT or Georgia tech. If you are looking into Political Science, Georgetown or Harvard would probably be much better choices. However, there are many students who go into college without the slightest idea of what they want to study. That’s ok too! In these cases, you just have to research colleges and make visits and see which one fits you best as a person.
Consider other aspects of a college as well. I for one wanted a college that had decent athletics. I wanted to have a good football team to support and definitely a soccer team to join. Look at the organizations the school has to offer. Make sure you can be involved in groups you are interested in. Think about the location and size of the school. I wanted to go to a large college after going to a relatively small high school; I liked the idea of seeing new faces every day and not knowing everyone personally. But for some people, this may be overwhelming and undesirable. Lastly, and probably most importantly (at least to many people) look at the cost of tuition and scholarships offered by the school. Sometimes the decision of where to go comes down to money.
It is strongly recommended that you put each college choice in one of three major categories: your safety schools, target schools, and reach schools. The safety schools are colleges that you are SURE you will get into. These colleges vary from person to person, but remember that these are your back up schools so you have to be sure that you will get in. The next category is your target schools. These are the schools you think you might get into. Ideally, you will eventually choose one of these schools to go to. The last category of schools is the reach schools. These are the schools you may have a slight chance of getting into. Ideally you should apply to 3-6 colleges. 1-2 colleges you apply to should be your safety. 2-3 colleges should be your target. And 1-2 should be your reach. With this plan, you should be able to go to a college well suited for you!