7 Things to Research About Colleges for Your Child

St. Agnes Academy
When your child is applying to colleges and universities, there are some critical elements to consider. Review our list of things to research about colleges to make informed decisions.
Helping your daughter choose the best college can be a life-changing decision. An exceptional college can propel a young woman forward in life and her future career.

Picking the right college can be challenging, however, as several factors can shape how you feel about each school and what the school can offer your daughter.

Looking over a few key things to research about colleges can help you narrow down the college list. This exercise will also help you have great conversations with your child about where to attend college once those acceptance letters start to hit your mailbox.

Key Things to Research About Colleges and Universities

Let’s take a look at seven important factors that could determine where your child continues her academic career after St. Agnes Academy.

1. Academics

As you start researching colleges, the first and most obvious consideration is academics. It’s crucial that you consider what classes the school offers and what standard of academic excellence it is held to.

Students should feel challenged and engaged by their classes, not bored. Classes or degree programs should also help prepare students for their careers, and a strong curriculum that guides students, sparks their curiosity, and shapes their focus is often the best way to do this.

2. Extracurriculars

Learning isn’t only about the classes offered or the major your daughter selects. Extracurriculars also play an important role in developing and cultivating interests, whether those interests remain hobbies that help relieve stress or become something that factors heavily into your daughter’s future career.

Therefore, when you’re thinking about the college admissions process, it’s a good idea to consider which schools offer the activities your daughter truly enjoys. Check for colleges that offer exceptional sports teams or provide support for artistic or musical interests.

3. Cost and Financial Aid

Colleges can be very expensive, so cost is often a significant factor. As you research colleges, consider how much each will cost.

You can also look into potential financial aid options or scholarships for Catholic students. Each college may offer different programs you can take advantage of.

4. Faith

Your daughter’s chosen college should feel like home, especially regarding faith. The school should be welcoming and comfortable, as this can directly impact how well your daughter performs in her studies.

Selecting a school with a religious affiliation or offering faith-based programs, services, or groups can make a school more welcoming and familiar. These opportunities are common in both private and public universities.

Faith can also be a guiding touchstone during stressful times, including the beginning of your daughter’s college journey when she can start to form bonds with like-minded classmates that share a similar faith background.

5. Location

Living away from home is an exciting prospect for many students. However, it’s not for everyone. As your daughter begins filling out college applications, think about the pros and cons of each school’s location.

Many students enjoy the freedom of living on campus hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. It can be an excellent boost to adult life. Others, however, prefer to stay close to family. Living at home can make college less stressful, and it can cut down on costs.

You know your daughter better than anyone. As you help prepare your child for college, you can have great conversations with your child about what type of environment will help her thrive.

Additional consideration: you should also consider the area around the college. Consider whether the college town offers sights to see or things to do during downtime between classes. These additional opportunities could be beneficial for your daughter’s growth!

6. Networking and Professional Preparation

Many students have a clear idea of what potential majors they’d like to study. Even if your daughter is not 100% positive about her area of study, it’s crucial that she chooses a school that offers classes and majors geared toward her interests.

To advance in her chosen field, it’s also a great idea to consider what networking and professional preparation each college offers. For example, some colleges may provide opportunities for prestigious internships. Others might offer exciting research opportunities.

Help your daughter look for opportunities to match up her interests / potential majors with college programs that will springboard her into a successful career.

7. College Size and Campus Life

Factors like academics, location, and cost are relatively common things to research about colleges, but it’s easy to overlook factors such as campus life and the size of the college. While seemingly minor, these factors can have a big impact on your daughter’s college experience.

For example, smaller class sizes often mean more individualized learning opportunities or a closer connection to faculty and other students. Larger student bodies, on the other hand, present more opportunities for varied clubs and groups.

We recommend researching the typical living arrangements for incoming students and the housing options available later in your daughter’s college career. You can often talk to the admission office at each college to learn about their residence life program and get a better feel for the school’s accommodations.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Researching College Life

High school juniors and seniors face many challenges as they take the next steps to prepare for college. Narrowing down the list of potential schools by researching key considerations can help reduce some of the stress associated with your daughter’s college search and the application process.

St. Agnes Academy is always ready to help. Upper-class students and their families can talk to the St. Agnes College Counseling department about college preparation, the strengths of each school or university on your daughter’s list, the college’s admission policies, and many other college readiness elements. Get in touch with us today!