Food for Thought
If you're looking at my website, chances are you have a high school student. Please read this thought provoking blog post by a former admissions director. Life has changed since most of us applied to college, and many of the Ivies and "elite" schools have acceptance rates of 10% or less. Think about it. Stanford's is more like 5%, and that includes the recruited athletes who usually get in early admission.
So what to do? Help your child (and yourself) enjoy his or her last years at home. (You'll miss him or her. I miss mine terribly.) Let her sleep. Have fun doing what he wants to do together - a movie, a hike, an Imax film downtown. Don't encourage that extra Advanced Placement class, because it probably doesn't matter that much in the long run and might produce only stress and anguish now. Your child should challenge himself in the areas he loves and also pursue extracurricular activities in those areas. Far too many students in the DC area are stressed and unhappy and seek to relieve both in unhealthy ways, such as drinking and drugs.
Above all, listen to your child's voice above the cacophony of competitive parents, statistics, and scary articles. There are many, many ways to be happy and successful.
And, if your child would benefit from some essay coaching and one less area of stress between you, contact me. I really do love working with teens to find their distinctive, authentic and persuasive voice. That's another skill they'll use the rest of their lives.