It's that time of year again. High school seniors all over America are learning what schools they have been accepted to and making decisions about where they want to attend college next year. There are a lot of things running through the minds of these seniors but this is what I would tell them to put their minds at ease.
First, choose the school you think is going to be the best fit for you both campus and money-wise. If you are going to be taking this college thing on you should be the one that decides where to go. Listen to the opinions of those around you like your parents, teachers, and peers but ultimately make the choice yourself. The most important factor in this decision making process is your happiness.
Now, once you pick one of these fine establishments you will most likely be living in a dorm your first year. It can either be a great experience or a terrible one depending on how prepared you are and who your roommate is. I personally had a terrible experience my first semester at college because I had a horrible roommate and I was the only one that was prepared for life somewhat on my own. Be honest when filling out the application if you are going to be doing random roommates and be even more honest if you are trying to meet someone on your college's Facebook page. You don't have to be best friends with your roommate but you do need to be able to live together comfortably.
This brings me to being prepared. Know how to do laundry step by step as well as how to go grocery shopping. Make a budget for yourself too. Knowing how much money you have and how much you can spend is always important. You are essentially living on your own and the choices you make are going to affect you and you alone.
College is not scary once you get the hang of it. Yes, you may go broke until you figure out how to be financially responsible, you may not like your roommate's version of clean, and you may even find that it is difficult to find somewhere to eat decent on-campus but remember that these are the good years. After this, you are totally on your own and the choices you make in college will determine how well you do in the real world.