Researching colleges is a vital part of the application process.
Because you can’t possibly apply to every school, it is important to identify schools that you are interested in, but also cover the spectrum from safety schools to mid-range schools to reach schools.
Some things to consider in your research are:
Does the school have the type of curriculum you want, e.g., open vs core curriculum? Does it have the major that you are interested in?
Will you have opportunities to study things that fascinate you, play the sports you want to play, work at internships that help clarify your career plans, and join the clubs you want to join?
Can you graduate without breaking the bank and taking on sizable amounts of student loans? Do they offer need or merit-based scholarships? Academic or sports scholarships?
Do you like the surrounding area, e.g., are you interested in a rural or urban area? Do you want to be close to a metropolitan city? Is the climate one you can tolerate?