Tip # 1 is to make sure that you are applying to a college that is an accredited college that will accept financial aid. Often times, many new students will not realize that their choice for college may inhibit their ability to get monetary help in the form of loans or even grants for their prospective major.
Tip # 2 is to examine exactly what minor courses are available for your career choice major. To determine if there is enough emphasis on your job path, make sure that the adequate class focus is available for your needs. This can be solved with a quick trip to a counselor to determine your best suited direction.
Tip # 3 is not to be hasty. Sometimes emotional influences are unwanted and you must take the time to write out your plan of action for at least the next 4 years. Make sure that it has very little to do with where your friends are going, or even where your parents believe you should go. The decision must be mostly yours for your attitude to survive your college years, unless of course your parents are your financial aid.
Tip # 4 is to have a place to stay. If you are not a dorm oriented person, make sure living quarters are provided off campus and that they are affordable. Stay away from leases as much as possible and make sure you like your residence and your roommates if they come with the package.
Tip # 5 is to always have an open mind. Financial aid can be a tough road and you may not get as much as you had hoped for. By reapplying to as many grants and other types of aid, you should find a way to make your college time much easier and without having to work full time to pay your way.