Another topic that we get questions about from time to time is that of brands of horns for college study. You do need a good one, but what is good enough? Usually an element of the original question had to do not only with getting a good horn but also with the topic of getting an upgrade horn before, during, or after college
In answer to the second part of the question my more general advice is to play on the best horn you can even in high school. But at the point that you can get some direct advice from the teacher you plan to study with in college is the time to decide what brands of horn you want to give a closer look for use in college.
There is nothing wrong with getting a very good horn even before that, if you have the money available. Horns are not a bad investment truth be known; if you take care of it a horn should not go down in value much at all.
With that element out of the way then we get to the topic of what brand of horn. Although I could get very brand specific I would rather not in the context of this answer (I have some notes in this article, however). Some student model horns really feel and play like tanks; you want something better than a basic student model horn with good valves and tone and playing qualities if you are a serious student of the horn of any age.
Picking that exact horn out can be really tough and it ends up bordering on a religious decision. There are people out there who have strong (bordering on irrationally strong) feelings pro or con on certain models of horns, and this will likely be the case for us in the horn world from now until when people quit playing horn.
The weekend article I posted on the YouTube tuba endorsement relates actually to our topic of today. As noted in yet another article horn artist endorsements are not a big element of the horn culture. In fact if you look at endorsing horn artists as a group taking in all horn brands a lot, many of those players either are not that big in the field or don’t actually play current production versions the instruments they supposedly endorse.
The eventual fact being that if you are getting going in college the only endorsing artist that really matters is your horn teacher. Good luck finding the horn that plays great and speaks to you!
UPDATE: See also Kruspe or Geyer, Which is Better?