I think when you feel this strongly about someone after that much time, you'll regret it more if you don't go for it. LDR is difficult but not impossible. I think it is easier to develop a relationship in person but if you know her in person that helps.
I agree with the idea to confess your feelings but keep things light. If she's into you she might try to come to the same college.
I will also say, you told us you've been trying to look at the other girls, but if you've got your feelings for this girl and have been wrestling with the idea to tell her, I don't think you have REALLY been giving the local girls a chance. You don't have room in your feelings for that. You've made an effort, enough of an effort to tell yourself you made an effort, but as long as you're focusing your feelings on the girl from home, I don't think you got a fair assessment of the local lovelies. Nothing wrong with that, of course, just saying that is going to be the reason those girls don't compare - you don't feel emotionally behind the idea of giving any of them a chance.