One of the key aspects within the college process is the link between college selection and the ability to afford those candidate schools. Students tend to be idealistic and lean toward schools about which they've heard good things or whose names and reputations populate their discussions and dreams. Of course, I'm talking about the so-called “elites" — the Ivy League Eight and other “prestigious" colleges and universities.
Most parents, on the other hand, take a much more pragmatic approach, trying to strike a reasonable balance between their child's idealism and the real-world ability to pay. With some schools now heading north of $300,000 for an undergraduate degree, pragmatism is prudent.