For students and parents, choosing which schools to send applications to can be incredibly stressful. When choosing what potential colleges a student may attend, there are a lot of things that a student, as well as parents need to think about. Students: check application deadlines and make sure you apply well before the deadline. This is incredibly important.
Apply to around six to eight colleges. Keep your options open, apply to a dream school, apply to a community college, and apply to colleges that are within your reach. Do not apply because you had one excellent visit. One day, or one weekend cannot tell you everything about the college life on that campus. Make multiple visits on weekends and on week days so that you can get a better feel for the college. Stay with a friend that lives on campus and sit in on a class with him or her. Try to get an experience as if you were actually at that college, it will help to form a more accurate opinion.
After visiting schools, make a pro/con list for every school with about twenty pros and/or cons. This will help you to see how good the school will really be for you. Do not make a list out of only college life; make a list including what the college has to offer you as well. Things you may want to think about are things such as: What majors do they offer? If you like playing sports, look into the intramural teams they have. What is the average class size? How large is the school? These questions well change your pro/com list sufficiently, and will make it much more accurate.
Follow some of the fun Twitter parody accounts that are run by students to see what some of the cool things that happen on campus are. An example of this would be @notGeorgeOleary (University of Central Florida). Looking up hash tag UCF (#UCF) (or whatever schools you are looking into) is a great way to find parody accounts run by students, which will give you a lot of information about campus life than many college visits do not give. Official school accounts are also an excellent source of information. They give updates about many things going on at the school.
If you are absolutely lost as to what schools you want to apply to, you are in luck. There are many websites dedicated to helping with the entire college application process. Two very helpful websites are www.MyCollegeCalendar.org and www.collegeconfidential.com.
MyCollegeCalendar helps with every single step of the application process. It is designed mainly for students. There is a lot of information that can be helpful to parents as well. CollegeConfidential is an extraordinary recourse for information regarding the many different things you need to look into when choosing a college. Looking into SuperMatch College Search on that website will be incredibly helpful. It will help you to choose a school by what you want (college size, location, majors, gender mix, Greek life, etc.). Spending thirty minutes playing around with CollegeConfidential will help with choosing which schools you want to apply to.