Hopefully if you have an eleventh grader around your house, he's been looking at colleges he wants to attend in the fall of 2014 since at least 10th grade. If not, you want to help him get busy on that. By now he should already have his short list ready. The timeline between now and when your child will be completing college admission applications is very short. Did you know that early admission deadlines for fall 2014 begin in October, 2013 at some colleges?
There is much work to do and a strategy to develop for your child to be successful at colleges that are even moderately selective. However most families do not realize that. Even if you helped an older sibling apply to colleges a few years ago, there are some new developments of which you should be aware as you prepare for the pending college admission season.
One surprise to both students and parents is that college admission has gotten more competitive almost everywhere. The recession and the job crisis have focused family college shopping attention on high quality public colleges and universities with moderate costs and the best job placement records. This has created a logjam in college admission offices as the number of applications has skyrocketed at those institutions.
The other surprise is that the number of highly qualified students with stellar gpa's, high standardized test scores, AP coursework and impressive activity resumes has grown. So your children are competing not only against more students than in prior years but also more students with better qualifications in prior years.
So if you have an eleventh grader, make sure the college selection process has begun. If you have a child younger than that, do everything you can to help him take challenging courses, make amazing grades, prepare to do well on standardized tests and have an impressive activity and community service resume.