Or is it a crap shoot, as it was for me? As I have related before, my college selection process was not the least bit strategic, was scarcely tailored to my interests and lacked much adult guidance, though I had plenty of moral support.
I had blossomed in my all-girls (public) high school and thought the blossoming might continue if I went to an all-girls college. But I did not get into the one I wanted (and didn't know anything about demonstrated interest back then, or I would have demonstrated tons of interest). Nonetheless, I was accepted by Duke and received a fine education. But was it a perfect fit? Probably not.
Here's an interesting discussion on finding the right college. Frankly, perfect fit is a romantic notion that has little place in this overly competitive, everyone looking at the same 25 schools environment. So if the college your teen lands in doesn't seem, at first, the right one, ask yourself a few questions. At 17 or 18, how many teens really know what they want? And isn't part of growing up making a situation work for you?
That said, our sophomore has promised to start compiling a list of colleges that might hold interest and then looking at them on Naviance and in college guides to see if they should remain on the list.