Others may narrow down the possible schools based on programs available or the reputation of certain programs. College reputation itself can also come into play, which is why some people opt for expensive private schools over cheaper local schools.
One of my brothers picked his school using a completely different method. He applied to a variety of different schools. It included:
- in-state schools
- out-of-state schools
- private schools
- public state schools
He was accepted to each and every college that he applied to. So, how did he make his selection? He went with the one that gave him the best and most comprehensive financial aid package. Personally, I think he was extra smart about it. Why? Because he just graduated with a four year college degree and zero student loan debt. He has zero college debt actually. And his financial aid package was so large that he was able to do a study abroad program at no additional cost. That is correct - it cost him nothing.
This was a great way for him to get the college degree that he needed without having to go into a huge amount of debt to do so. In fact, with the economy being so terrible, it was nice for him to graduate and not have to worry about trying to get a job immediately to pay off those loans. He actually did find a job fairly quickly but was laid off not too long after that. However it was not a huge source of stress for him since he did not have to send any monies to Sallie Mae.
So, if you are not dead set on a specific college or the like, you just might want to consider casting a wide net and picking the institution that offers you the best fin aid package.