Whether the goal is to attend college or take another route, much of the groundwork for a student’s future is laid in high school

But for the experience to be fruitful, experts say it’s important that students are in the right environment.

“Choosing a high school isn’t just about the brand name,” Pierre Huguet, CEO and founder of admissions consulting firm H&C Education, wrote in an email. “Parents want to make sure their child will be happy on a campus that meets their academic, extracurricular, and personal needs.”