Finding out where you want to go to school after graduation can be stressful. However, with some research and preparation, applying to and choosing a college can be a little less worrisome.
Have somewhat of an idea on what you want to study - Knowing what you find interesting and what you would most likely want to spend your life doing is key when deciding on a college or university. With that idea in mind, researching for a school will be ten times easier. For instance, I want to study journalism, that's why I want to go to the University of Florida, for its communications department. Focus on schools that are strong in your preferred field.
Pick an ideal location - If you grew up in the snowy mountains of North Carolina, chances are you might want to study somewhere warmer and less icy. If you can't stand to see yourself staying in state, or vice versa, look up schools that fit your ideal location. Want to study in state, but still have that I'm-away-from-home college experience? Look into schools that are a few hours away, that way you'll be somewhat close to your parents in the event of an emergency, and won't have to pay rising out of state tuition. Remember, you'll be spending four plus years here, so make sure you love your surroundings.
Stay in budget, but don't downgrade - If there's one lecture I get often, it's the tuition talk my parents give me. They don't want to break the bank when paying for my schooling, but they also want me to have the best experience possible. When looking for a university, make sure to keep in mind the costs, but don't downgrade. If you have your heart set on going to a private school, make sure you research all the possible scholarships they offer, so you'll pay as less as possible. Student loans are a scary thing too, my aunt still hasn't paid off hers yet, and she's 40. You won't want to be trapped in a web of payments most of your life, but you don't want to settle for a community college if you have your heart set on a big school. Take grants into account - it's free money that you don't need to pay back.