At the risk of sounding over-programmed, unrealistic or downright crazy, I will share some of the steps our family will be taking to get ready for college starting now, in the second half of sophomore year.
We talk about high school a lot -- grades, activities, junior year classes. We're still filling holes in the summer schedule, but there will likely be some math preview work as our teen looks ahead to Algebra II. We're also looking at an overview SAT prep class. It's a two-week summer program. My goal on this: to get her familiar with the tests in a setting more structured than her bedroom; to help her learn strategies and some basic approaches to the tests; to refine even more where she needs to focus special effort. Junior year we'll likely do more intense test prepping prior to SATs.
We've done one college tour, a school not too far away. We'll look at more campuses over the summer so that when we hit junior year, we may have better ideas of where she will want to spend more time -- whether interviewing, in classes or just strolling the campus.
I'd like to see our teen peruse one of those books of majors (will pick one up soon.) She has some ideas and directions, but seeing descriptions of what specific majors entail may be helpful as she shapes her thoughts on which colleges might make sense.
It's a lot of work. But perhaps doing the thinking now and looking ahead to some of the things she wants from life may help her keep focused on what's important. By that I mean a fulfilled and happy life. What college she goes to is really just a small part of that.
I have done a lot of muddling -- through college, and at times, professionally. Maybe our daughter will be more firm-footed.