begin your search – close to home, a few miles/ hours away, allowing visits only on weekends, allowing home visits only on breaks, etc. Filter you search based on this criterion and compare options and opportunities to single out the best.
When deciding on the location, the climate aspect must also be taken into account. If one has lived in a place known for its warm and balmy climate, one may find it difficult to adjust and adapt to regions with colder climate and vice versa.
I have always believed that having a clear goal and putting hard work in are the most important thing. Think about it this way – how many people graduate from those ivy league colleges each year. How many of them end up really successful? One of the nice things about life is that you get to define your own success, and going to a famous college is hardly one.