<p>I learned a lot sending two kids through college, and wish that I had know some things beforehand. I'll list a few, but looking for other parent to add to these:</p>
<p>MYTH #1: If money is an issue, stay in-state at a public school.
We all sort of know this one can be false, since some private schools can offer better aid than publics. But there are other considerations as well, but they all involve research. Lots of research. Some lower-ranked schools (public and private) are wanting to increase their reputations, and are willing to pay for students that will help do that. At one school I know, for example, a $4500 per year scholarship is available to anyone with a 3.0 or better (and a decent, but achievable SAT score). In addition, a private school may be more generous with need-based aid.</p>
<p>MYTH #2: The higher a school is on USNWR rankings, the better the school is.
Probably what matters more is the department you're looking into (assuming you already know what your major will be). For example, the best Journalism schools in the country may be in universities which are not at the very top of the list.</p>
<p>MYTH #3: A smaller school is better than a larger one.
This might be true in some respects, especially with freshman class sizes. But there are so many opportunities available at larger schools. As one of my friends pointed out, you are going to gather around you a set of friends, and that set will be the same size and type of people no matter whether you are in a large school or a smaller one. It might be easier to fall through the cracks and disappear in a larger school, but for anyone with a little bit of drive, the advantages of the additional resources (and additional majors when the time comes to change) are there.</p>
<p>MYTH #4: Avoid party schools.
Same as above. What you do and who you associate with are up to you, and the school will not impose partying on you... except in one circumstance: dorms. If you do go to a party school, make sure to request either an academic or substance-free dorm and avoid the all-night noise.</p>
<p>MYTH #5: The best source of scholarship money is with the large national, corporate, competitive ones (Coca Cola, etc).
Let's face it. The competition makes the effort to pursue one of these almost worthless. The best source of money is with the college itself (again, more research). And do not overlook local sources as well - some smaller companies, your own employer, the utility companies, services club (Kiwanis, etc), historical societies, and so on. Start with the school's guidance office, but again, more research.</p>
<p>MYTH #6: The best chance for merit money will be with an Ivy League school.
Hahahahahahaha.... That may be where your LEAST chance of merit money will be, even if they may be more generous with need-based aid. </p>
<p>MYTH #7: Going to a super-competitive, top-ranked high school will increase your chance at an elite college.
Actually, this is counter-intuitive, but it may actually hurt. Even though an elite college may take more from that kind of a school, the number of people applying is also much greater. You are in a super-competitive set of applicants, all of whom are going for the elites.</p>
<p>...any more to add to these? ...or disagreements with these?</p>