I have many friends with students that are just starting high school. My first response to them is: Don't panic! Enjoy these years with your child as it is a great journey. Because we live in the Lamorinda area, I am putting this link here as the first piece of research parents should read titled "Why affluent teens are miserable."
I really like this blog: www.TheCollegeSolution.com by Lynn O'Shaughnessy as she has the right perspective as to how families should look at college for their student. This blog is particularly important as people ask me things like:
-Should I pay $5,000 for my daughter's SAT prep?
-There are counselors that guarantee my student's admission into XX school, why don't you?
-What can I do to get my student into a U.C.?
My answer to parents is to start by doing some research. The beauty of the internet is it isn't that hard to get great advice. Here are just a few sites for a start.
Developing a College List
1. www.Unigo.com is student based reviews of colleges that can be difficult to read if your student really dreams of going there (party score of 10, academic score of 2).
2. http://www.forbes.com/top-colleges/list/ Forbes also provides a list based on other factors like financial return of the tuition costs, but the list is not that different than US News.
Determine Major and potental career interests:
1. I love this website as it does a quick Myers/Briggs assessment for students that can help focus their interests. It is a good start to build on. http://www.16personalities.com
2. I also like this website because it is fun and easy to navigate for data on choosing a major: www.schools.com
As a student gets into their sophomore and junior years, www.Naviance.com and www.CollegeBoard.org will be important online sites to use.
There are many great colleges out there that would be a great fit for your student. Help your student enjoy the process of discovery during these high school years.