Your personal preferences about many things are important to your decisions about college. Would you rather live in a big city or a small town? Do you want to be near the ocean, rivers, lakes, or the mountains? What kind of weather do you prefer?
Do you want to go away from home—and if so, how far away? Would you rather live at or near home when you go to college? Do you want to be able to come home on weekends? Do you like being around lots of other people, or do you prefer to spend time with one or two close friends? Do you feel more comfortable with people who share your values and beliefs? Do you want to be with people whose backgrounds are different from your own?
Also consider any special needs you have. How important is having a place of worship nearby? Do you have specific dietary requirements, whether for health, religious reasons, or personal preference? Do you have specific needs because of physical or learning disabilities? You must determine how well a college and the surrounding community can meet these and other needs.
Consider your strengths and weaknesses. Are you a good student? Does studying come easily to you? If the answers to these questions are “no,” don’t be discouraged.
Just be realistic about how challenging a college you should consider. Do you have a knack for science or math? Does writing come easily to you? These kinds of questions might help lead you to areas of study and, in turn, to certain colleges.
If you know your abilities, you will be able to work with them. You will be able to build on the strengths you have identified. You will also be able to take steps to overcome or deal with any weaknesses.