In the spirit of college application deadlines, I thought I'd share some wisdom I learned about researching colleges through four years of college.
1. If you plan on studying abroad, where you go matters. Some schools require it, and others strongly support it. Some may encourage it but do little to help you acheive it. If you go to the last kind, you will find it very difficult to raise the necesary funds or even graduating on time.
2. There is such a thing as "free college." An article on Fastweb has a list of schools where you can get the tuition waived. Of course, you still have to pay other fees, but it gets rid of one big cost. While all of the options are fairly competitive, I wished I had tried for one of these.
3. Travel can be a huge expense. Although I live and go to school within the same state, traveling can be difficult and expensive. Going to a closer school could have saved my family a lot of time and money.
4. Look for scholarships early. I did the majority of my scholarship search while I was in school, and as a result did not get as much of a chance to apply for scholarships with large prizes.
5. Start visiting schools early. I know that two years seems like a long time, but most of senior year will be spent applying. I did not want to go to any school that I hadn't visited, so I did not apply to several schools merely because I didn't have the time to visit.
6. You will have to take the SAT/ACT more than once. I only took the ACT once, and was not completely satisfied with my score, but I had not chance to take it again.
I hope this helps everyone who is planning to go to college. Do any of my readers have any tips to add?