Check out the academic reputation of the school.
Academic reputation is not necessarily measured by accreditation. Some top-notch schools choose not to be accredited rather than compromise on issues imposed by a secular institution. Some are accredited by agencies that allow them to maintain their Christian worldview. For a student planning a career in a secular field, it is important to research how the institution is respected in the academic and business world. Ask admissions counselors what specific graduate schools accept the school's degrees. Also find out what organizations recruit from the college's student population.

Check out the catalog and website.
The catalog and website can tell you more than what majors are offered. Look at specific course titles and descriptions to learn more about the approaches taught in the classroom. Does the catalog reflect courses that teach a liberal social agenda masked as academic coursework as many secular colleges do? Is evolution taught as a viable alternative? What kind of clubs, organizations, and activities does the college endorse? All this can tell you more about the school's overall philosophy and help you learn if the school is a good fit for you.

Visit the campus.
Most colleges will allow prospective students and their parents to visit the campus and even attend a few classes, usually at no charge. This is a good way to get a better feel for campus life and see if it is for you.

Realize that no college is perfect.
Of course, you will not find a perfect place anywhere on this earth. Every college will likely have something that you do not like. There are advantages and disadvantages to every higher education scenario. But careful research can help you make a more informed decision. Also remember that not everyone who attends a Christian college is truly committed to the Lord. Use discretion in choosing friends and activities at Christian college as much as you would in your own hometown.

Originally published on December 14, 2007.

Amelia Harper is a homeschooling mother of five and pastor's wife. She is the author of Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings, a complete one-year literature curriculum for secondary level students. She is also a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines. ::

Copyright 2007. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Fall 2007. Used with permission.