A wise man once said, nothing good ever comes from comfort zones.
When choosing schools, there is so much that comes into factor. Are the dorms nice, is the food good, how is the party life. Obviously, a huge component of choosing a university to reside yourself at for the next four years is the finances. College is not cheap, by any means. The tuition, factoring in the partying, the outfits that you'll buy every weekend to match the theme, group Halloween costumes. It ends up being way more than you ever expected. The only other aspect of choosing a school that I believe is probably the most important, more important than the money, is the location.
Location, location, location.
When I went to college, I made the decision off a relationship that I was in and stayed local for my boyfriend. Our hometown was already small, but I felt that with him there I wouldn't make many friends anyway because I would be with him all the time. False, and a bad decision on my end. I ended up meeting lots of people, getting other boyfriends and having way more fun.
The biggest regret I have in my life to this point is not going away to school.
I stayed in my hometown, and yes, it saved me tons of money, but my best advice I could tell any rising freshman, is to try and go away to college. Get out of your state, go experience something you've never before. Go live truly on your own. I find that a lot of my friends who went away to school are doing way better than I am at a younger age because they learned early on the means of living more independently, gaining more worldly knowledge, and being more confident in their decisions. It doesn't seem like a big deal, I know. It's just four years. It's only a few parties. It's too expensive. But ask yourself, the hometown that you grew up in, do you want to be there while you grow up? The same jobs? The same people? Some people are homebodies and that's fine, but if you have a somewhat outgoing/adventurous spirit or a wild side you haven't been able to show, or even a side of you that you feel trapped inside because of the fact you're always around the same people.
You will learn more about yourself, you won't be as dependent on other people, and you will get to grow into someone you might have always wanted to be.
So what's stopping you?