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Where to begin, what to not forget?


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I have a 17-year-old junior - that re-entered public school in 9th grade - and I am somewhat clueless on progressing forward for college.


Is there a good checklist or calendar out there that can help me keep on my toes for what we should be doing? DD is not motivated in this department and I want to gently encourage but also be able to say 'now is time to do x' as well.


DD has a vague interest in psychology. She has no interest in where to go or what kind of environment she would like. Guilford is the only school she has ever mentioned because other kids in the Quaker youth program have also gone there.


Two big factors: she has a romantic interest in Canada and her current plan is heading there post graduation - I'm hoping the plan evolves because it is impeding other planning.


Financial Aid is essential - we simply are not in a point of being able to offer much assistance and don't approve of large student debt. I don't know what our expected contributions would be, but I imagine that we wouldn't fall into a high-needs category but our contributions will be small and so far dd hasn't found a job to begin saving either. DD knows our finances are tight and I wonder if part of her lack of interest in planning is just assuming college won't be possible because we can't offer full coverage.


She takes many honors classes and has her first AP class this year. Her grades are upper-average. She doesn't have any volunteer work outside of school and we live in a rural area and we really need to find something. She played JV soccer but due to an injury didn't make the team this year, hopefully next year she will try again. I don't recall what last year's PSATs scores were but they were a bit above average. It's time to sign up for them again - but maybe we need more test prep this time, or should we just focus on SAT prep instead. I'm not sure what to use for prep either - she is resistant to the idea with her other schoolwork already piled high, but I think something needs done to give her the best chance at aid.


I am not encouraging the community college first option, though we could probably find that more affordable, because she is out and an active part of the LGBT community but we live in a very conservative, small rural community. I feel like she would do better in a more liberal and accepting environment with stronger/larger community network.


I'm starting to think surviving this whole college process will be the biggest challenge we have to face in the next two years. :)

Edited by xixstar
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I don't have a lot of time to type since I'm at school now and need to be grading papers, but...


There is a great timeline that someone (was it Lori) posted on the high school board not too long ago. Perhaps someone else can find it and link to it.


NOW is the time to be signing up for the PSAT (at our school). IMO, it's worth taking even if just for practice and not really aiming for the few scholarships for the top small percentage. There are far more scholarship opportunities with high SAT or ACT scores. It can be worth it to prep some for the PSAT, but do make sure she tries to prep for the SAT/ACT (generally taken in the spring of junior year).


To find out your expected family contribution, try running some net price calculators found on each college's website. That will give you a ballpark figure to have in your mind as you consider colleges. Many colleges out there have a liberal bend to them, so finding one that fits shouldn't be difficult. Pending her scores and what you can afford to pay, you might even want to consider Canadian schools - just don't expect aid from them if you end up needing it.


Right now, I also have a junior. I've told him to be prepping for the PSAT and he's taking Oct's ACT to get a baseline score for that test. His "real" SAT/ACT will come in the spring. I told him to be looking at colleges and sensing out what he might want to go into (field rather than major). Once he has scores, we'll start figuring out actual schools to consider as he'll also need aid. He knows he needs great grades this year (junior year is the #1 year adcoms look at) and he's keeping up with extra curricular activities. For him, this includes being on the Chess Team, starting an Improv Club at school, teaching Sunday School (two classes) and being involved in youth groups (two). He's also heading on another work/mission trip to Jamaica this winter (his second time there, and fourth work trip overall). We also live fairly rural and these are the opportunities available to him aside from sports (which he's not fond of).


I should add that he also helps Dad when Dad needs engineering fieldwork... it'll be part of what he puts on his apps.


There are a variety of possibilities for "other things" on the app - just find something around and start doing it. You don't have to have oodles of things.


The college thing seems overwhelming, but step by step it isn't bad. The hardest part (literally) is saying good-bye and getting used to one less in the nest. Enjoy the time you have together over these next two years... ;)

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Thank you - she is signing up for the PSATs for next month. Not sure how much extra prep she'll get in for those. I might see about a generic book or something to have her work through a little bit in the evenings.


I feel like she really really needs to rock the tests if college is going to be easier. Our help/contributions will be minimal, like maybe we can cover a meal plan or something, so she needs to really push on those but also unsure of what prep would help as well. She's taken latin and seems to retain a fair amount, math she was challenged with last year and is going to retake Algebra 2 this spring.


She is involved with several clubs at school and an officer in one this year (literary magazine club) and also active with the GSA club and getting started with the theater group (the stage crew part, versus the acting part).


So I guess maybe I should focus on figuring out best test prep options available for doing at home.

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