Here is my best advice regarding planning for college at this time. I suggest working backward from the future to the present time and doing so by asking questions. Ask your son or daughter what they picture in the future. Do they see themselves in a particular profession? Do they picture themselves at a particular college or university? What are their interests, gifts, and talents? If they are specific with any or all of these questions then you have a place to start. You and your student can do some research then on those careers and/or schools. Your job should be working along side or behind your student. Do not forge ahead and put in more energy than your son or daughter because it doesn’t work and can even be counter productive. If they are not showing interest now they will eventually unless you move to support them in the manner they have become accustomed to forever and demand nothing of them. (Remember, “Kids should have all of what they need and some of what they want.” John Rosemond)
The internet is a great place to look. If looking at private schools you can find their websites simply by using Google or another search engine. For CSU’s go to www.csumentor.com, for UCs www.universityofcalifornia.edu and for community colleges go to www.cccco.edu. Once on a school’s site you want to look for “admissions”, “prospective students”, “catalog”, “academics” and anything else of interest. For private colleges/universities look at the suggested high school courses for admission. If your student has a definite major in mind see if the school has that major. Many times a student has told me that they want to major in a certain subject only to find that the school they have their heart set on does not have that major. Often kids want to go to a University of California but they don’t realize that the UCs are research schools and more into the philosophical side of subjects and don’t have some of the more practical majors. I like to go to www.assist.org for information about majors at UCs and CSUs. The assist.org site is primarily used by community college students who are interested in transferring to a UC or a CSU but it has information that can be used by high school students as well. I suggest that you get a catalog from any school that your student is still seriously interested in after looking at the website. Catalogs can often be purchased online and mailed from the university bookstore. If a student wants to go to college and at this time does not know where they want to go or what they want to major in we just make sure that they have a good college prep set of courses in high school and apply to colleges with a broad set of majors. There’s nothing wrong with that.