It's late in the process, and if you've already made your decision, way to be on top of the game. I trust that you made a good one and that you'll be able to create a great experience at wherever you end up.
If you haven't made your decision yet, I thought I would write about some things that I love about my school but didn't really think about considering when I signed and sent in my commitment form.
If you were accepted to the University of Notre Dame, I have only one piece of advice for you-- COME.
If not, here are some things to think about:
1. DO NOT choose a school based on your major.
I, and the majority of my freshman class, have already changed our majors at least once-- not to mention adding and subtracting minors and supplementary majors. DO look at the offerings of the university (variety of course options, instructor ratings, class sizes, department size), but choose a university that will allow you to explore and find your passions, and that will be supportive of you doing it at every step along the way.
2. Don't think too much about the weather.
The weather here is anything but a tropical paradise, but it's really not so bad. One thing I think I wan't thinking about is that it is acceptable to wear a parka and snow boots and use an umbrella here-- you will survive, and appreciate good weather when it comes around.
3. Choose a school that will CHALLENGE you.
In all ways-- academically, but also that will help you to grow by introducing you to people who come from a different background, new cultures, activities, opportunities, and ways of thinking. Please, please, PLEASE don't shy away from a school that has a heavy course load and high academic vigor. My academic year has been the hardest, but also the most positively challenging, rewarding, and amazing, time I have ever been through.
4. Really look at the community of the school.
It may seem like college is all about independence... it's not. It has been SO important to have the community I have here in my dorm, PEMCo, and on campus. Look for a school where the biggest competition is going to be against yourself. Even if you can't find a community that will put their arms around each other and sing the alma mater, find one that will cheer you on and be there for you though times that college is sure to bring. I thought the only way to find this was through a greek system, but I wouldn't trade my Cavanaugh sisterhood for anything.
5. Think about safety.
There's not much I can say about this except that it's so convenient to be able to leave my laptop at a desk in the library and have it be there when I get back. There are so many things to worry and stress about in college, don't make your safety one of them.
6. Don't worry about going far from home.
You will be so busy in college, you won't have much room to dwell on the thousands of miles between you and your cat. I will not lie, it is hard at first-- really hard. But going though it makes you a stronger person, teaches you to be independent and resourceful, and forces you to rely on your school community. Not only this, but I think it's good to venture geographically farther away from home. You will experience a totally different culture, population, and part of the country or world.
Finally, I want to tell you to choose a school you love.
Choose one that you will be so proud of that your whole wardrobe is revamped with it's gear and colors (mine was). Choose one that you can rave to your family and friends about, and smile when you think of all of your fun times (I do). Choose one that you are jumping up and down to go back to in the fall (I AM). And choose one that you can't imagine leaving after four years (I can't).
Think hard. Choose well. And get so excited for all that the next four years will be.