1. Living arrangements.
Look for the kind of living arrangement you want to live in. I suggest all freshman live in the dorms their first year to meet new people and be immersed in the college lifestyle. Getting food on campus, walking to class and participating in on campus events. If you're looking to live in an apartment house or sorority/fraternity house look into your options. Most college campuses are very good about advertising the different apartment options. Try to find an apartment near campus so you can walk to class, or one that has a bus stop near by that will take you to campus.
It's why we're here right? Coming out of high school you may have your life figured out.. but you may not. Look into the majors and programs that your potential school has and see if it would be something that you could see yourself doing for the rest of your life. Some schools specialize in certain things, like engineering, veterinary med or communications. You will want to have a general idea of your major if you are interested in pursuing a school with a graduate program in your major.
Some people are made for a small college, some are made for a large college. I suggest visiting all sizes of schools, a private, small and large school. After you visit those decide what your favorite was and weight the pros and cons of attending a large vs. a small school. Some people love knowing everyone on campus, others enjoy seeing unfamiliar faces in class. The good thing is, we have lots of different kinds!
4. Extra Curricular Activities.
What kind of activities do you want to participate in? Will you want to join a club that deals with your major or one of your hobbies? There are always plenty of things to do on a college campus and more then enough ways to get involved. During your visit ask about the different clubs or organizations on campus, like fundraising, magazines or intramural sports. Everyone will be able to find something they love!
5. Financial Aid.
College can be a very tough time financially for any college student. You will soon learn how to live on Ramen noodles, Easy Mac and Lunchables. But to help you out there is financial aid available. Check with your college financial department to see how much money you will be receiving for good grades, scholarships, ect. Also check to see how much student loans you can take out at a time. A job is always a good idea in college, but there are other ways to help you out also!
6. Beyond Campus, the Town.
The town outside of your campus can be a big influence on your college decision. If you're a person that likes to go out to eat, movies, or other actives you may want to check out the surrounding area and do your research before your visit. There are some college campuses in huge cities and some in the middle of nowhere. Each have their pros and cons and you will have to weigh them to see which is best for you!
7. Greek Life.
If you are interested in Greek life, look into how involved it is in your potential college. Some colleges it is very prominent and involved in the campus lifestyle and others may have a few fraternities and sororities available. If you are thinking about joining Greek life, check out the websites for the Greek community or ask people on campus what they think of it. I am a little biased on Greek life, but I highly recommend it! It will add a great amount of fun to your college career!