You need to see your high school guidance counselor to get an idea of what your future career is going to be. Then you can go to three or four school to see if they fit your needs.
<span style="background-color: transparent;">Collegeboard.org is a great resource for this! I poured through the pages of universities all over the U.S. when I was a senior in high school. Collegeboard was my go-to site! They put all of the information in one place and it is very easy to use. They even have various filters you can apply to see only colleges that have programs you are interested. To determine academic rigor, look at the admissions requirements, G.P.A. of past admitted applicants, SAT/ACT scores, class rank etc. This will give you an idea of what scores and grades you need to be accepted. However, don't be discouraged your application will be reviewed based on the full picture! College-board will help you get an idea of what is most important to the specific school you are applying to.</span>
This professional recommends the following next steps:
- <span style="background-color: transparent;">Chat with your Guidance Counselor</span>
- <span style="background-color: transparent;">Create a Collegeboard.org account</span>
- <span style="background-color: transparent;">Start using CollegeBoard as a resource to look up schools.</span>
You certainly do not need to be concerned about going to a great college. Your college experience will be as great as you make it.
Colleges are well-staffed educational institutions and reputation, for the most part, is about each students dedication to study.
Your decision is whether you want to be one of 1000s of students, or one of a couple hundred. You must consider your ability to be accepted based on your grade point average, SAT Scores, financial situation(s) and course of study.
The Ivy League colleges (i.e. Yale, Columbia,) are tougher to get in and much more expensive. The smaller colleges may be less expensive. The staff of higher education, at all levels, are dedicated professionals.
Focus on what you want to do. What your priorities are? Do you want to be closer to home? Will you qualify for grants and scholarships? Do you feel you will qualify for a student loan for an Ivy League school? And do you want to be in debt?
If you only receive some grants or scholarships, and want less debt, there is nothing wrong with community colleges. Lower priced, and can help build Grade Point average. They are also great if you are undecided on your major.
Remember, you are not required to decide your whole entire future fresh out of high school. Education is great in itself. Yet, you may be interested in Law School and then, suddenly, in a year or a few, you decide to be a college Professor. You can do that, too.
People change careers at any point in life. Do what makes you happiest. Being happy is much more important than the "name" of your college.
My suggestion is to find a career that fits first. It's way easier than thinking about a college fit if you don't know what you want.
Once you have a couple career ideas then back track to find majors that are a pathway to that career. Armed with a major chose a College offering that major that has a good reputation and gives you a good deal.