First, you have to decide which major subject you want to choose for your college studies. If you are unsure about a major, you can also decide about the field of study you are interested in. This will help you in short listing the colleges that offer degrees in your desired interests and then look for them if they are listed among the top-ranked colleges in your state or region.
You will also have to determine if you would like to attend a state or a public college. Available financial aid and scholarships may be one element of this decision. Location is another to consider. State colleges located outside of your home state will likely require greater tuition, room and board fees. So, you should decide very carefully while keeping all these factors in your mind.
Compile a list of colleges that meet your criteria and learn all that you can about them. You can visit their website, talk to people you know and request information from the college through the mail.
Determine how many college visits are reasonable for you and your family, and start scheduling these visits to each college.
Take plenty of notes on the visit, take a look at the things you like and dislike. This will help you later as you recall your visits, making it less likely for multiple college visits to blend together. You want to remember what made each a unique one.
Apply to the top colleges you visited and await your replies. Choose the best college from the ones that have accepted you. Consider the way you felt on campus in addition to how the college measures up to your list of priorities.