One mistake some people make, Collegewise Counselor Rahsan Burroughs says, is choosing a school because of its name.
"Just going with the name that they think sounds the best in terms of this Keeping up with the Joneses and making the "right decisions" in terms of perceived social mobility," he said.
Instead, Burroughs says college happiness comes down to choosing a school where the student fits in.
"You want to make sure that they're somewhere where they can see themselves reflected on the campus and then also will have opportunities in front of them, extracurricularly as well as curricularly," he added.
Also students should consider the return on investment.
"It's ok to have some skin in the game in terms of loans, but you don't want to be saddling yourself with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt," Burroughs said.
Families should look at the full cost of attendance and not just room and board.
"Travel to and from the school depending on how far the student is from home. How many times per year a student may want to come home for the holidays for breaks etc. Some colleges will factor in an estimate for books and then there are out of pocket money for snacks, for pizza for movies for social," he explained.
Many schools have a net price calculator on their websites so families can get a good estimate of the cost.