Have a Plan, Not A Panic Attack
The present-day college admissions process has become a highly angst-ridden affair. We get it. However, the best way we know of to maximize effective decision-making and minimize anxiety is to have a plan.
This will come as news to a lot of parents who went to college in a kinder and gentler era (as we did), but planning for college should begin before 9th grade. Having a plan in place will eliminate drama about things like a senior realizing he needs three years of math instead of two, or a junior who forgot to sign up for community service over the summer. A plan is a simple way to stay on track.
Before students enter high school, make sure to fill your home with "college talk." Without whipping them into a frenzy, students should be made aware that the choices they're making now will help them when the time comes to apply to college.
Start talking to your child about defining their interests, selecting their courses, and getting good grades. Discuss extracurricular activities, community service and summer plans, too. Then, most importantly, write it all down. Yes, it takes time and thought to create a plan, but having a plan is much better than having a panic attack.