Here a few factors I think should have absolutely no influence over where you apply or attend college.
1. Where your friends want to go
Going to a college where you don’t know anybody can be an intimidating prospect. And after four years of high school, you might have some pretty close friends who seem the perfect companions for your upcoming college years.
But the cold, hard truth is that you will not be going to high school anymore. You are about to go to college. You’re going to have to make this decision based on what is best for you, not based where your friends will be.
2. Where your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to go
No matter how strong your romantic connection and conviction may be, I don’t recommend that you allow it to be a factor in determining where you go to college.
In some cases, teenagers adopt a dog-like pack mentality. It is a scientific phenomenon that as yet defies explanation. But if there is a significant jump in applications to a particular college, you can be that school will be on kids’ lists the following year. We see it happen all the time.
Sometimes, this might happen for good reason. After all, there are a lot of great colleges out there who deserve to have their good word spread.
But if the only reason you are applying to a school is because everybody else seems to be doing it, you might want to think twice before you fill out the application.
4. Where the school is ranked on the US News list
It's funny how many the same schools who are so proud of their US News ranking would be unimpressed if a student cited it as a primary reason he wanted to attend. Really? That's like spending an inordinate amount of time, money and energy to get the perfect outfit before a date and then penalizing your date for telling you your outfit looks nice.
Don't pick your colleges because of where they are ranked. The rankings are very controversial, and they change every year. So you could effectively pick a college ranked in the top ten and have it drop to outside the top 15 before the following year. Is it worth this risk?
5. Anything you'd be embarrassed to admit to the college when applying.
You should be proud of your reasons for applying to a college. If you're not, you need different reasons (or different colleges).