Hi, Jaleel! I'm Susanne. Here's what I can share with you. I hope it's helpful :)
1) I went to college to be a programmer in the late 90's. I earned an Associate's degree, but it turned out I didn't need even that to go into development. Employers didn't care at all that I had a degree - they only cared if I could sit at a laptop during the interview and hammer out code to prove I could write the applications.
2) My ex-husband also went to college to be a programmer (Texas A&M), but he moved away with 4 classes left and never finished the degree at another school. He, too, discovered that a degree is not necessary to be a programmer. The classes he took WERE helpful, but ultimately he ended up teaching himself all the current languages that were in demand (and keeps up with new ones now). He became VERY successful as a coder/developer, ending up with a major telecom and getting promoted to one of the highest levels attainable in his space. He's now an entrepreneur, owning his own businesses and making a VERY good living doing what he loves (code/development/making money!) and being his own boss - without a degree in computer science.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't get a degree! I just want to pass along what we've discovered so you know that you have options. College isn't for everyone, and sometimes it just doesn't work out financially or time-wise. I make a good living & love my work without having a relevant/useful degree - I am in sales operations & marketing now.
3) My daughter graduated high school in 2011, and here's what we learned during her junior & senior year and the college admissions process:
A) Try to have good grades but don't panic if you aren't a straight-A student because they are looking for a well-rounded applicant not a robot
B) You MUST have volunteer and/or work experience on your application. Most high schools offer volunteer opportunities, so hit every one you can & keep a record of how many hours you spent doing each one. Colleges want to know how many hours of volunteer service you put in. It's also very helpful if you have job experience, even if it's only a few hours on weekends. Both of these (volunteering & job) show the university that you are RESPONSIBLE, have TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS (critical to be successful in college), and that you are a team player. It proves you are willing to put in extra time to attain goals and are spending your free time in a constructive way - * even if you don't think you have 'free time,' you can 'make time' for important things like volunteering and work.
C) ALWAYS WRITE THE ESSAYS! If an essay is optional, do it anyway because tons of other applicants will not and this puts you way ahead of them. It shows the school that you're serious, invested, and willing to go the extra mile to impress them/show why you'd be successful.
** If there's one thing I can't stress enough, it's this: the competition and pressure to get into college, especially a 4-year school, is VERY INTENSE for high school seniors. You may not get into the schools you've chosen, or any school at all. You may not win scholarships and merit-based grants. This does not mean you can't go to college or that you aren't college material! If you can't get into your chosen school initially, start off at a junior college for a semester and then enroll at a 4-year college as a TRANSFER student. There is virtually no limit on the number of transfer students a school will admit, but they do often have limits on how many 'true freshmen/fresh out of high school' students they can bring in each year.
Be sure that you have a PLAN for what classes you will take at any junior college - get the courses approved by the schools you want to transfer to. Not every junior college class transfers properly (sometimes it does't transfer at all) to a 4-year school. You don't want to waste money and time on classes you can't transfer elsewhere.
And lastly, don't get hung up on going to the 'perfect' school! Employers couldn't care less where you attended school as long as it's not a 'for profit' college. 'For Profit' colleges are overpriced and they are not credible with most employers. ALSO, it may turn out that college isn't a good fit for you, and that's totally OK! You can make a great living in some really excellent jobs if you take a few courses in your chosen field or get certified in something specific. Examples: take training in the programming languages or technology you're interested in or get certified in a specific technology, software or skill.