So our S20 is very apprehensive about college, leaving home, etc. It's a real effort to actually get him involved in the whole process at all. We have started making a college list and have focused on a number of Cal State schools in our area (we are in the Bay Area of California so SFSU, SJSU and Cal State East Bay), along with Saint Mary's College and UCSC (which is about 2-3 hours away), but he's not interested at this point in even researching/visiting the campuses. I feel like I am the one driving this whole thing at the moment.
His 2 best friends have said they want to go to Oregon State and so now S wants to add that to his list. But he told me that he would only go if they are both going also and that he would never go that far away "by himself". That makes me nervous that he would be miserable even if he had his friends there. He is definitely a homebody, quite shy and our first child to attend college, so he hasn't seen any older siblings go through this process.
Financially, it would be way easier to have him in a Cal State and/or living at home, so it's hard at times not to try to sway him in that direction. He is an above average student with a 3.72 UW GPA (taking ACT and SAT in the next 2 months), so getting into any place he has on the list shouldn't be a problem except maybe UCSC which would be a bit of a reach depending on his test scores.
I want him to have the college experience but I am also very aware that he could hate being away from home. Should he just stick with applying to places closer to home (with the exception of Oregon State)? Do others have experience with your child totally changing their mind from Junior to Senior year as to whether they want to be close to home or not? Should I just back off at this point and let him get through the ACT and SAT and applications in the fall and then worry about visiting places once he's actually been accepted?