Can I get advice on selecting/evaluating colleges to look at in more detail? I know that KTMers have recommended some web sites, but I didn't make a list. I'm still trying to figure out what criteria are important, including big school/small school, country/city, and whether the college is the town or whether the town has it's own life. I have a lot of preconceived ideas about different schools, so I was surprised when I started looking at the average SAT scores for different colleges, not that that is the main criterion one should use. Does anyone like some rankings better than others? How about the rankings of particular departments? How about intangibles such as opportunities that aren't necessarily related to the college? Are some colleges known for having their students go home on weekends? How did your views change as you got to know schools in more detail? How did your kids' views evolve? Were there conflicts between where your kids wanted to go and what might might be best for them academically? I suppose there is the pressure of picking the highest ranking school because that will sound best to others when they ask.
I thought it would be good to put together a list of tangible and intangible factors to go over with my son. When we go to a school to visit, I want him to have a lot of background knowledge first. I don't want him to accept or reject a school based only on what he sees while getting out of the car on the first visit. I went to the University of Michigan having never been to Ann Arbor before.